DLH Researchers’ Article Spotlighted as Intramural Paper of the Month

DLH researchers recently had their work spotlighted as “Intramural Paper of the Month” in NIEHS’ monthly online newsletter, Environmental Factor. Caroll Co, Guanhua Xie, and Gregg Dinse co-authored a paper titled, “Expanded assessment of xenobiotic associations with antinuclear antibodies in the United States, 1988-2012,” which was a large-scale study in humans that revealed potential environmental causes of autoimmunity.

The prevalence of autoimmunity in the United States has increased recently for unknown reasons and little has been uncovered about associations between autoimmunity and environmental causes. DLH researchers analyzed questionnaire data and blood, serum, and urine samples, which was the largest and most comprehensive study of associations between antinuclear antibodies — the most common clinical biomarkers of autoimmunity — and exposure to chemical substances called xenobiotics, which are not naturally produced or expected to be present in the body.

The results of the study revealed a positive relationship between antinuclear antibodies and dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), both of which are considered persistent organic pollutants and tend to bioaccumulate in humans. The study also found a negative relationship between antinuclear antibodies and most phthalates, which are hormone-disrupting chemicals used to manufacture certain plastics. The authors state that further investigation to confirm their observations and interpret the underlying mechanisms could have important preventive and treatment implications for a variety of immune disorders.

More information is available via PubMed.


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