Associations among organochlorine pesticides, methanobacteriales, and obesity in Korean women

Hae Sook Lee, Je Chul Lee, In Kyu Lee, Hyo Bang Moon, Yoon Seok Chang, David R. Jacobs, Duk Hee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Although Methanobacteriales in the gut has recently been linked to obesity, no study has examined the hypothesis that waist circumference, a marker of visceral obesity, are positively associated with Methanobacteriales in the general population. Since Methanobacteriales increase in a petroleum-contaminated environment to biodegrade petroleum as one way of autopurification, we also hypothesized that high body burden of highly lipophilic petroleum-based chemicals like organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) is associated with higher levels of Methanobacteriales in the gut. Methodology/Principal Findings: Among 83 Korean women who visited a community health service center for a routine health checkup, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) based on 16S rDNA was used to quantify Methanobacteriales in feces. Nine OCPs were measured in both serum and feces of 16 subjects. Methanobacteriales were detected in 32.5% (27/83 women). Both BMI and waist circumference among women with Methanobacteriales were significantly higher than in women without Methanobacteriales (P = 0.04 and P = 0.01, respectively). Also, Methanobacteriales levels in feces were positively associated with BMI and waist circumference (r = +0.23 and P = 0.03 for both). Furthermore, there were significant correlations between feces Methanobacteriales levels and serum concentrations of most OCPs, including with cis-nonachlor (r = +0.53, P<0.05), oxychlordane (r = +0.46, P<0.1), and trans-nonachlor (r = +0.43, P<0.1). Despite high correlations of serum and feces concentrations of most OCPs, feces OCP concentrations were not clearly associated with feces Methanobacteriales levels. Conclusion/Significance: In this cross-sectional study, the levels of Methanobacteriales in the human gut were associated with higher body weight and waist circumference. In addition, serum OCP concentrations were positively correlated with levels of Methanobacteriales. There may be a meaningful link among body burden of OCP, Methanobacteriales in the gut, and obesity in the general population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27773
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations among organochlorine pesticides, methanobacteriales, and obesity in Korean women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this