Metabolic Signatures of Youth Exposure to Mixtures of Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: A Multi-Cohort Study

Jesse A. Goodrich, Douglas I. Walker, Jingxuan He, Xiangping Lin, Brittney O. Baumert, Xin Hu, Tanya L. Alderete, Zhanghua Chen, Damaskini Valvi, Zoe C. Fuentes, Sarah Rock, Hongxu Wang, Kiros Berhane, Frank D. Gilliland, Michael I. Goran, Dean P. Jones, David V. Conti, Leda Chatzi

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23 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Exposure to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is ubiquitous and has been associated with an increased risk of several cardio-metabolic diseases. However, the metabolic pathways linking PFAS exposure and human disease are unclear. OBJECTIVE: We examined associations of PFAS mixtures with alterations in metabolic pathways in independent cohorts of adolescents and young adults. METHODS: Three hundred twelve overweight/obese adolescents from the Study of Latino Adolescents at Risk (SOLAR) and 137 young adults from the Southern California Children’s Health Study (CHS) were included in the analysis. Plasma PFAS and the metabolome were determined using liquid-chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry. A metabolome-wide association study was performed on log-transformed metabolites using Bayesian regression with a g-prior specification and g-computation for modeling exposure mixtures to estimate the impact of exposure to a mixture of six ubiquitous PFAS (PFOS, PFHxS, PFHpS, PFOA, PFNA, and PFDA). Pathway enrichment analysis was performed using Mummichog and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis. Significance across cohorts was determined using weighted Z-tests. RESULTS: In the SOLAR and CHS cohorts, PFAS exposure was associated with alterations in tyrosine metabolism (meta-analysis p = 0:00002) and de novo fatty acid biosynthesis (p = 0:03), among others. For example, when increasing all PFAS in the mixture from low (∼ 30th percentile) to high (∼ 70th percentile), thyroxine (T4), a thyroid hormone related to tyrosine metabolism, increased by 0.72 standard deviations (SDs; equivalent to a standardized mean difference) in the SOLAR cohort (95% Bayesian credible interval (BCI): 0.00, 1.20) and 1.60 SD in the CHS cohort (95% BCI: 0.39, 2.80). Similarly, when going from low to high PFAS exposure, arachidonic acid increased by 0.81 SD in the SOLAR cohort (95% BCI: 0.37, 1.30) and 0.67 SD in the CHS cohort (95% BCI: 0.00, 1.50). In general, no individual PFAS appeared to drive the observed associations. DISCUSSION: Exposure to PFAS is associated with alterations in amino acid metabolism and lipid metabolism in adolescents and young adults. https://

Original languageEnglish
Article number027005
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


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