PCB can increase risk of abdominal fat

May 29, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- There is a correlation between high levels of the environmental toxin PCB and the distribution of body fat to the abdomen. This is shown in a new study published today in the scientific journal Obesity. Abdominal fat is already known to increase the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, among other conditions.

Fat inside the abdomen (visceral fat) is considerably more dangerous that fat near the surface of the body (subcutaneous fat). For instance, fat in the abdomen has previously been linked to the development of diabetes. Monica Lind, associate professor in environmental medicine at the Section for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, together with Lars Lind, professor of medicine, has analysed data from the so-called PIVUS study, which comprises more than 1,000 70-year-olds in Uppsala.
From the same material they have previously shown that can predict the development of diabetes. In the present study, these researchers measured levels in the blood of 23 persistent organic environmental toxins in the more than 1,000 70-year-old women and men. In nearly 300 of them, with the aid of magnetic imaging, they also investigated the amount of fat in various parts of the abdomen. Previous studies have used only BMI as a measure of fatness. They found that having high levels of the highly chlorinated and very persistent compound PCB189 was related to a high proportion of fat in the .
"These findings may indicate that PCB189, which was also related to developing diabetes, may be of significance in how fat is stored in the body," says Monica Lind.
To understand the underlying mechanism, more research is needed in the form of controlled laboratory studies. According to Monica Lind, there are several possible causes. For example, it would be interesting to study whether there is a hormonal impact on fat metabolism, an inhibition of the breakdown of cortisol, or an inhibition of the creation of oestrogen.

Explore further: Genetic study shows that low body fat may not lower risk for heart disease and diabetes

More information: Obesity (2012) doi:10.1038/oby.2012.123

Related Stories

Link shown between environmental toxicants and atherosclerosis

October 11, 2011

Environmental toxicants such as dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides can pose a risk for cardiovascular disease. For the first time a link has been demonstrated between atherosclerosis and levels of long-lived organic environmental ...

Recommended for you

A metabolic master switch underlying human obesity

August 19, 2015

Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially ...

Scientists probe obesity's ties to breast cancer risk

August 20, 2015

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, but researchers haven't figured out what connects the two. A new study suggests the link may be due to a change in breast tissue structure, which might promote breast ...

Can a new drug brown the fat and trim the obese person?

May 28, 2015

New research has found that a variant of a drug used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension prompts weight loss in obese mice. Among mice fed a high-fat diet, those who did not get the medication became obese while medicated ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.