Path Analysis Reveals the Direct Effect of PCB28 Exposure on Cognitive Dysfunction in Older Chinese Females

Chenwei Pan, Huijuan Zhao, Qiaoling Du, Yong Xu, Dajun Tian, Shuo Xiao, Haiyin Wang, Xiao Wei, Chunfeng Wu, Yuanyuan Ruan, Chunhua Zhao, Gonghua Tao, Weiwei Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research indicates that exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can cause neurobehavioral impairments in neonates and adults, but the way specific PCBs’ congeners impact cognition functions at a low exposure level in a real-life co-exposure system remains poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the association of PCBs burden with cognition function among elderly adults. Methods: Based on the Weitang Geriatric Diseases study (2014–2015), the current study measured the plasma concentrations of six indicator-PCBs by GC-MS/MS and assessed the cognitive dysfunction (CoD) via an Abbreviated Mental Test in 266 participants (ages 61–90). Sequential logistic regression was used to analyze the effects of PCBs on cognition functions. Female participants aged less than or equal to 80 years were selected, and path analysis was used to determine the direct or indirect impacts of co-exposure PCBs on CoD by structural equation modeling. Results: After sequential adjustments to potential confounding factors and correction by the Bonferroni, no statistically significant correlation between PCBs exposure and CoD was found in participants (p > 0.05). However, in the co-exposure system, after controlling for co-exposures and confounders, exposure to PCB28 had a direct effect on CoD in females aged between 61 and 80, with a factor load of 0.670. Conclusions: After adjusting for the co-exposures and confounders, exposure to PCB28 can directly increase the risk of cognitive impairment in older Chinese females.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6958
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Abbreviated Mental Test
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • older females
  • path analysis
  • polychlorinated biphenyls


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