University of Illinois at Chicago
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Concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in human placental tissues and associations with birth outcomes

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Version 2 2024-06-03, 16:38
Version 1 2023-12-08, 17:59
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 16:38 authored by Heather M. Stapleton, Kate Hoffman, Marie Lynn MirandaMarie Lynn Miranda, Samantha M. Hall, Sharon Zhang
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants commonly detected in human serum. Previous studies have observed associations between maternal serum PFAS and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes such as lower birth weight or pre-eclampsia; however, few studies have explored these associations with birth outcomes and placental tissue PFAS concentration. The placenta is a vital contributor to a healthy pregnancy and may be involved in the mechanism of PFAS reproductive toxicity. Our goal was to measure placental PFAS concentrations and examine associations with birth outcomes (e.g., birth weight, gestational duration). Placenta samples (n = 120) were collected during delivery from women enrolled in the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby cohort (HPHB) in Durham, North Carolina. All placenta samples contained detectable PFAS, with perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) being the most abundant and most frequently detected (all >96% detection frequency). While placental PFAS concentrations did not differ by infant sex, higher PFAS levels were observed in placenta from nulliparous women, suggesting that parity influences the accumulation of PFAS in the placenta. We used linear regression models to examine associations between placental PFAS and birth outcomes. After adjustment for parity, tobacco use, maternal age, and maternal race, we found that placental PFOS was associated with lower birth weight for gestational age in male infants and higher birth weight for gestational age in female infants. Similar findings were seen for PFNA for birth weight for gestational age. These differences in birth outcomes based on infant sex highlight a need to explore mechanistic differences in PFAS toxicity during gestation for male and female infants.


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