Adipose tissue has been acknowledged as a potential target for obesogenic pollutants, including toxic metal(loid)s. However, the presence of these chemicals in the adipose tissue has been poorly characterized.
To examine the distributions of adipose tissue concentrations of five toxic metal(loid)s (i.e., arsenic [As], nickel [Ni], lead [Pb], tin [Sn], and titanium [Ti]) in adults, and potential socio-demographic and lifestyle factors associated with metal(loid) concentrations.
The study population consisted of a subsample of 228 subjects from GraMo cohort in Southern Spain (N = 387). Adipose tissue samples were intra-operatively collected from adults recruited in 2003–2004 in two public hospitals, and concentrations of metal(loid)s in adipose tissue were analyzed in 2015 by High-Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Data on socio-demographic and lifestyle factors were obtained by baseline questionnaire completion. Linear and multinomial regression was used to identify factors associated with metal(loid) levels.
Ni, Pb, Sn, and Ti were detected in all adipose tissue samples, and As in 51% of them. Ni was the metal showing the highest median concentration (0.56 μg/g), followed by Ti (0.31 μg/g), Pb (0.08 μg/g), Sn (0.06 μg/g), and As (0.003 μg/g). Predictors of As levels included area of residence, social class, and oily fish intake; for Ni: area of residence and consumption of cheese, meat, eggs, and canned food; for Pb: vegetables intake and industrial occupation; for Sn: age, body mass index, and consumption of lean fish, eggs, and milk; and cheese intake for Ti. Some of these predictors were sex-specific, particularly those regarding dietary intake.
This exploratory study provides the first evidence of the occurrence of Ni, Pb, Sn, Ti, and As in adipose tissue from adult population, and highlights the potential of this tissue as a biological matrix for studying exposure levels and chronic health effects of toxic metal(loid)s.