Serum dioxin, insulin, fasting glucose, and sex hormone-binding globulin in veterans of operation ranch hand

Joel E. Michalek, Fatema Z. Akhtar, Johnathan L. Kiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations


We studied insulin, fasting glucose, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in Air Force veterans exposed to Agent Orange and its contaminant, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (dioxin), during the Vietnam War. The index subjects were veterans of Operation Ranch Hand, the unit responsible for aerial herbicide spraying in Vietnam from 1962-1971. Other Air Force veterans who served in Southeast Asia during the same period but were not involved with spraying herbicides served as comparisons. We assigned each Ranch Hand veteran based on his dioxin level to one of three exposure categories, named background, low, and high. Among nondiabetic veterans, we found the mean of the logarithm of insulin significantly increased in the high dioxin category. Additionally, in nondiabetic veterans the relation between SHBG and insulin interacted significantly with dioxin category on the log scale within strata defined by age and percent body fat. Among young (age, ≤53 yr), lean (percent body fat, ≤25%) nondiabetic veterans in the high category, the slope relating the logarithm of SHBG and the logarithm of insulin was significantly decreased. These findings suggest a compensatory metabolic relationship between dioxin and insulin regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1540-1543
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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