The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4120.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 1:30 PM

Abstract #50640

Potential linkage of organchlorine pesticide exposure and systemic lupus erythematosus in Lake Apopka farmworkers

Stephen M Roberts, PhD1, Eric Sobel, MD2, Joel Schiffenbauer, MD2, Joan Flocks, JD3, and Liz Buckley4. (1) University of Florida, PO Box 110885, Gainesville, FL 32610, 352 392 4700,, (2) Department of Medicine, University of Florida, PO Box 100221, Gainesville, FL 32610, (3) Department of Health Policy and Epidemiology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100177, Room 5230, Gainesville, FL 32610, (4) Farmworkers Association of Florida, 815 S. Park Ave., Apopka, FL 32703

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) occurs much more frequently in women than in men, and observations from animal and human studies suggest that estrogen may play an important role in gender susceptibility to autoimmune disease. A number of environmental contaminants have been shown to have estrogenic effects, leading us to hypothesize that exposure to these chemicals may exacerbate lupus. To test this, three organochlorine pesticides with estrogenic effects (viz., chlordecone, methoxychlor, and o,p-DDT) or administered via sustained-release pellets to ovariectomized (NZBxNZW)F1 mice, a murine model for lupus. The estrogenicity of the chemicals at the doses used in the study was confirmed by uterine hypertrophy in a pilot study period. All three organochlorine pesticides accelerated the production of anti-dsDNA antibodies and onset of renal disease, and increased early mortality. Studies are currently being conducted to better characterize this effect in both lupus-prone and normal mice. Historically, there was extensive use of organochlorine pesticides on farms bordering Lake Apopka in central Florida. Anecdotal reports from former farmworkers in the Lake Apopka area suggest an elevated incidence of SLE. Efforts are being made to initiate community-based participatory research to assess the possible relationship between lupus in former farm workers and organchlorine exposure. [Supported in part by ES07375]

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Community Participation, Lupus

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Environmental Toxics: A Discussion on Environmental Links to Lupus

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA