Life-course exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances in relation to markers of glucose homeostasis in early adulthood

By Damaskini Valvi, Kurt Højlund, Brent A Coull, Flemming Nielsen, Pal Weihe, and Philippe Grandjean
J Clin Endocrinol Metab
April 27, 2021
DOI: 10.1210/clinem/dgab267


To investigate the prospective associations of life-course perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) exposure with glucose homeostasis at adulthood.


We calculated insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function indices based on 2-h oral glucose tolerance tests at age 28 in 699 Faroese born in 1986-1987. Five major PFASs were measured in cord whole blood and in serum from ages 7, 14, 22 and 28 years. We evaluated the associations with glucose homeostasis measures by PFAS exposures at different ages, using multiple informant models fitting generalized estimating equations, and by life-course PFAS exposures using structural equation models.


Associations were stronger for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and suggested decreased insulin sensitivity and increased beta-cell function, e.g., β (95% CI) for log-insulinogenic index per PFOS doubling = 0.12 (0.02,0.22) for prenatal exposures; 0.04 (-0.10,0.19) at age-7; 0.07 (-0.07,0.21) at age-14; 0.05 (-0.04,0.15) at age-22; 0.04 (-0.03,0.11) at age-28. Associations were consistent across ages (P for age-interaction >0.10 for all PFASs) and sex (P for sex-interaction >0.10 for all PFASs, except perfluorodecanoic acid). The overall life-course PFOS exposure was also associated with altered glucose homeostasis (P=0.04). Associations for other life-course PFAS exposures were non-significant.


Life-course PFAS exposure is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity and increased pancreatic beta-cell function in young adults.

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