Association of Plasma Organochlorine Levels with Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes (sponsored by MSU Office of Research & Economic Development)
In 2007, 23.6 million Americans or 7.8% of the population was estimated to have either diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[CDC]). The incidence and prevalence of diabetes has been increasing in the U.S. for at least 10 years. Type 2 diabetes (T2D), previously called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), comprises between 90% to 95% of all cases of diabetes and is responsible for most of the increased prevalence. In addition to those diagnosed with diabetes, as many as 57 million Americans were estimated to have prediabetes which frequently progresses to T2D. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2006 and increases the risk of developing numerous other diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Within the U.S. certain populations and geographic regions are at higher risk for diabetes than the population as a whole. Minority groups in general and especially African Americans are at higher risk for T2D and its complications. Currently, 3.7 million or 14.7% of African Americans over the age of 20 are estimated to have diabetes. In addition, Mississippi has had the highest prevalence of diabetes of any state in the U.S (CDC). Studies have shown an association between the serum level of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and diabetes. Interestingly, the POPs identified in these studies included several organochlorine (OC) pesticides or their metabolites. Prior to 1970, OC pesticides were applied in large amounts in Mississippi especially in the highly agrarian Delta region of the state where a large proportion of the African American population resides. OC pesticides and their metabolites are still present in the soil in these regions. The role that POPs and more specifically OC pesticides play in the high prevalence of diabetes in Mississippians in general and in African Americans in particular is unknown. Given these findings, our central hypothesis is that high plasma levels of OC pesticides and/or their metabolites in Mississippians will be associated with the development and progression of T2D and prediabetes and contribute to the elevated prevalence of cardiovascular disease. We are currently investigating the association of T2D, prediabetes, and cardiovascular disease with the plasma levels of OC pesticides and/or their metabolites in a group of Mississippians recruited from a local cardiology clinic.