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Association of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with osteoarthritis among adults: an analysis of the NHANES 2001-2016

1, 2


  1. School of Medicine, Yangzhou Polytechnic College, Yangzhou, China.
  2. Department of Orthopaedics, Huzhou Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital Affiliated to Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Huzhou, China.

2023 Vol.41, N°11
PI 2239, PF 2248
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PMID: 37199148 [PubMed]

Received: 07/02/2023
Accepted : 17/04/2023
In Press: 15/05/2023
Published: 14/11/2023


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are environmental endocrine-disrupting compounds, which have been widely recognised as a risk factor for human health. However, the relationship between PAHs exposure and the risk of osteoarthritis has rarely been reported. This study aimed to investigate the association between individual and mixed exposure to PAHs and osteoarthritis.
In this cross-sectional study, participants aged ≥20 years with data on urinary PAHs and osteoarthritis were extracted from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2001 and 2016. Logistic regression analysis was utilised to assess the relationship between individual PAHs exposure and osteoarthritis. The quantile-based g computation (qgcomp) analysis and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR) analysis were performed to assess the effect of mixed exposure to PAHs on osteoarthritis, respectively.
A total of 10,613 participants were enrolled, 980 (9.23%) of whom had osteoarthritis. Exposure to high levels of 1-hydroxynaphthalene (1-NAP) [odds ratio (OR)=1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01–1.10], 3-hydroxyfluorene (3-FLU) (OR=1.09, 95%CI: 1.02–1.17), and 2-hydroxyfluorene (2-FLU) (OR=1.06, 95%CI: 1.01–1.13) were all associated with greater odds of osteoarthritis after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, drinking alcohol, and hypertension. The qgcomp analysis showed that the joint weighted value of mixed PAHs exposure (OR=1.11, 95%CI: 1.02–1.22; p=0.017) was significantly related to higher odds of osteoarthritis. The BKMR analysis demonstrated that mixed exposure to PAHs was positively correlated with the risk of osteoarthritis.
Both individual and mixed exposure to PAHs were positively correlated with the risk of osteoarthritis.


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