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The associations between p,p’-DDE levels and plasma levels of lipoproteins and their subclasses in an elderly population determined by analysis of lipoprotein content



Lipoproteins at aberrant levels are known to play a role in cardiovascular disease. The metabolite of the insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE), physically associates with lipids and accumulates in adipose tissue. Little is known about which lipoproteins associate with p,p'-DDE. An association between p,p'-DDE exposure and altered levels of circulating lipids was assessed in a large human cohort using a detailed analysis of lipoprotein content.


Plasma samples were collected from the subset of 75-year old Swedes in the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature of Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) cohort who were not prescribed lipid lowering medication (n = 571). p,p'-DDE concentrations in plasma were measured using high-throughput solid phase extraction and gas chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry. Analysis of plasma lipoprotein content was performed with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.


Detectable levels of p,p'-DDE were found in the plasma samples of all subjects. Elevated p,p'-DDE levels were associated with increased concentrations of lipoproteins of all diameters, with the exception of high density lipoprotein (HDL) of diameters between 14.3 nm-10.9 nm. Of the lipoprotein constituents, triglycerides were most uniformly associated with elevated p,p'-DDE across lipoproteins. p,p'-DDE was furthermore associated with apolipoprotein B, but not apolipoprotein A1.


The positive associations observed between each lipoprotein class and elevated p,p'-DDE support previous data suggesting that p,p'-DDE interacts with lipoproteins within plasma. It is speculated that both physio-chemical and biological mechanisms may explain why p,p'-DDE does not uniformly associate with lipids across lipoproteins.

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