Presenter: Fan Wu
Paper: Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Authors: Feng-Chiao Su,PhD; Stephen A. Goutman,MD; Sergey Chernyak,PhD; Bhramar Mukherjee,PhD; Brian C. Callaghan,MD; Stuart Batterman,PhD; Eva L. Feldman,MD,PhD
Persistent environmental pollutants may represent a modifiable risk factor involved in the gene-time-environment hypothesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
To evaluate the association of occupational exposures and environmental toxins on the odds of developing ALS in Michigan.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Case-control study conducted between 2011 and 2014
at a tertiary referral center for ALS. Cases were patients diagnosed as having definitive,
probable, probable with laboratory support, or possible ALS by revised El Escorial criteria;
controls were excluded if they were diagnosed as having ALS or another neurodegenerative
condition or if they had a family history of ALS in a first- or second-degree blood relative.
Participants completed a survey assessing occupational and residential exposures. Blood
concentrations of 122 persistent environmental pollutants, including organochlorine
pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants
(BFRs), were measured using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Multivariable models
with self-reported occupational exposures in various exposure time windows and
environmental toxin blood concentrations were separately fit by logistic regression models.
Concordance between the survey data and pollutant measurements was assessed using the
nonparametric Kendall τ correlation coefficient.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Occupational and residential exposures to environmental toxins, and blood concentrations of 122 persistent environmental pollutants, including OCPs,
PCBs, and BFRs.
Participants included 156 cases (mean [SD] age, 60.5 [11.1] years; 61.5%male) and 128 controls (mean [SD] age, 60.4 [9.4] years; 57.8%male); among them, 101 cases and 110 controls had complete demographic and pollutant data. Survey data revealed that reported
pesticide exposure in the cumulative exposure windows was significantly associated with ALS
(odds ratio [OR] = 5.09; 95%CI, 1.85-13.99; P = .002). Military service was also associated
with ALS in 2 time windows (exposure ever happened in entire occupational history:
OR = 2.31; 95%CI, 1.02-5.25; P = .046; exposure ever happened 10-30 years ago: OR = 2.18;
95%CI, 1.01-4.73; P = .049). A multivariable model of measured persistent environmental
pollutants in the blood, representing cumulative occupational and residential exposure,
showed increased odds of ALS for 2 OCPs (pentachlorobenzene: OR = 2.57; 95%CI, 1.31-5.02;
P = .006; and cis-chlordane: OR = 6.51; 95%CI, 2.05-20.73; P = .002) and 1 PCB (PCB 151:
OR = 1.66; 95%CI, 1.03-2.67; P = .04. There was modest concordance between survey data
and the measurements of persistent environmental pollutants in blood; significant Kendall τ
correlation coefficients ranged from −0.18 (Dacthal and “use pesticides to treat home or
yard”) to 0.24 (trans-nonachlor and “store lawn care products in garage”).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
In this study, persistent environmental pollutants measured in blood were significantly associated with ALS and may represent modifiable ALS disease risk
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