Association of co-exposure to organophosphate esters and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and mixture with cardiovascular-kidney-liver-metabolic biomarkers among Chinese adults

By Yanbing Li, Yi Lv, Zexuan Jiang, Chaoying Ma, Ran Li, Mengwei Zhao, Yi Guo, Huicai Guo, Xiaoguang Zhang, Ang Li, and Yi Liu
Ecotoxicol Environ Saf
June 4, 2024
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2024.116524


Organophosphate esters (OPEs) and Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants with common exposure sources, leading to their widespread presence in human body. However, evidence on co-exposure to OPEs and PFAS and its impact on cardiovascular-kidney-liver-metabolic biomarkers remains limited.


In this cross-sectional study, 467 adults were enrolled from January to May 2022 during physical visits in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province. Eleven types of OPEs and twelves types of PFAS were detected, among which eight OPEs and six PFAS contaminants were detected in more than 60% of plasma samples. Seventeen biomarkers were assessed to comprehensively evaluate the cardiovascular-kidney-liver-metabolic function. Multiple linear regression, multipollutant models with sparse partial least squares, and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR) models were applied to examine the associations of individual OPEs and PFAS and their mixtures with organ function and metabolism, respectively.


Of the over 400 exposure-outcome associations tested when modelling, we observed robust results across three models that perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxS) was significantly positively associated with alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), total bilirubin (TBIL), and indirect bilirubin (IBIL). Perfluorononanoic acid was significantly associated with decreased AST/ALT and increased very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Besides, perfluorodecanoic acid was correlated with increased high lipoprotein cholesterol and perfluoroundecanoic acid was consistently associated with lower glucose level. BKMR analysis showed that OPEs and PFAS mixtures were positively associated with IBIL and TBIL, among which PFHxS was the main toxic chemicals.


Our findings suggest that exposure to OPEs and PFAS, especially PFHxS and PFNA, may disrupt organ function and metabolism in the general population, providing insight into the potential pathophysiological mechanisms of OPEs and PFAS co-exposure and chronic diseases.

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