Background. The Indigenous Arctic population is of Asian descent, and their genetic background is different from the Caucasian populations. Relatively little is known about the specific genetic polymorphisms in genes involved in the activation and detoxification mechanisms of environmental contaminants in Inuit and its relation to health risk. The Greenlandic Inuit are highly exposed to legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), and an elucidation of gene–environment interactions in relation to health risks is needed. Objectives. The aim of this study was to determine and compare the genotype and allele frequencies of the cytochrome P450 CYP1A1 Ile462Val (rs1048943), CYP1B1 Leu432Val (rs1056836) and catechol-O-methyltransferase COMT Val158Met (rs4680) in Greenlandic Inuit (n=254) and Europeans (n=262) and explore the possible relation between the genotypes and serum levels of POPs. Results. The genotype and allele frequency distributions of the three genetic polymorphisms differed significantly between the Inuit and Europeans. For Inuit, the genotype distribution was more similar to those reported for Asian populations. We observed a significant difference in serum polychlorinated biphenyl (CB-153) and the pesticide 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p′-DDE) levels between Inuit and Europeans, and for Inuit also associations between the POP levels and genotypes for CYP1A1, CYP1B1 and COMT. Conclusion. Our data provide new information on gene polymorphisms in Greenlandic Inuit that might support evaluation of susceptibility to environmental contaminants and warrant further studies.
International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 2013, Vol 72