Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Review of Epidemiologic Findings
By Weipeng Qi, John M Clark, Alicia R Timme-Laragy, and Yeonhwa Park
Toxicol Environ Chem
December 15, 2020
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of fluoro-surfactants widely detected in the environment, wildlife and humans, have been linked to adverse health effects. A growing body of literature has addressed their effects on obesity, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/ non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. This review summarizes the brief historical use and chemistry of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, routes of human exposure, as well as the epidemiologic evidence for associations between exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and the development of obesity, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/ non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. We identified 22 studies on obesity and 32 studies on diabetes, while only 1 study was found for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/ non-alcoholic steatohepatitis by searching PubMed for human studies. Approximately 2/3 of studies reported positive associations between per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances exposure and the prevalence of obesity and/or type 2 diabetes. Causal links between per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and obesity, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/ non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, however, require further large-scale prospective cohort studies combined with mechanistic laboratory studies to better assess these associations.
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