Effect of exposure top,p'-DDE during the first half of pregnancy in the maternal thyroid profile of female residents in a Mexican floriculture area

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Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p'-DDE), the main metabolite of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), has been associated with changes in human thyroid hormone levels. Maternal thyroid hormones are essential for adequate fetal neurodevelopment during the first half of pregnancy.


To evaluate the association between maternal p,p'-DDE concentration and the maternal thyroid profile during the first half of pregnancy.

Materials and Methods:

We analyzed the information of 430 pregnant women from a Mexican floriculture area, with a gestational age ≤16 weeks. By questionnaire, we obtained sociodemographic, reproductive, and life-style, information. Serum concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and total and free T3 and T4 were determined by means of Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA). p,p'-DDE was analyzed by Gas Chromatography. The association between p,p'-DDE and thyroid profile was assessed through linear and logistic regression models.


Thirty eight percent of women had p,p'-DDE levels below the Limit of Detection and 12.3% below the Limit of Quantification. Within the quantifiable range, median was 53.03 ng/g. TSH >2.5 mIU/L was present in 9.3% of women; 47.7% had isolated hypothyroxinemia; 3.5% had subclinical hypothyroidism, and 5.8% had overt hypothyroidism. We observed a significant positive association between quantifiable p,p'-DDE and total T3 serum levels in comparison with those with concentrations below the Limit of Detection (β=0.19; 95% CI=0.06, 0.34). There were no significant associations with other hormones of the thyroid profile or with clinical diagnosis.


Our findings suggest that p,p'-DDE exposure, even at low concentrations, could disrupt thyroid homeostasis during pregnancy.

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