Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Early Pregnancy and Risk for Preeclampsia: A Case-Control Study in Southern Sweden
By Lars Rylander, Christian H Lindh, Stefan R Hansson, Karin Broberg, and Karin Källén
June 24, 2020
Preeclampsia is one of the most common causes of perinatal and maternal morbidity/mortality. One suggested environmental risk factor is exposure to endocrine-disrupting pollutants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The present case-control study in southern Sweden aims to investigate the hypothesized association between serum concentrations of PFAS in early pregnancy and the risk of developing preeclampsia. The study included 296 women diagnosed with preeclampsia (cases) and 580 healthy pregnant women (controls). Maternal serum samples were obtained from a biobank of samples collected in early pregnancy in connection with screening for infections. Serum concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem-mass-spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). Among primiparous women, there were no differences in PFAS concentrations in early pregnancy between the cases and the controls whereas among multipara women, the cases had significantly higher concentrations of PFNA (median concentrations were 0.44 and 0.38 ng/mL, = 0.04). When individual PFAS were categorized into quartiles and adjustment for potential confounders was performed, the women in the highest quartiles had no significant increased risks of developing preeclampsia as compared with women in the lowest category. In conclusion, the present study provides limited support for the hypothesized association between PFAS and preeclampsia in a population with relatively low exposure levels.