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Impact of exposure to endocrine disrupters in utero and in childhood on adult reproduction.

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Department of Growth and Reproduction, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Recent reports have demonstrated a decline in human male reproductive health: high and probably increasing prevalence of cryptorchidism and hypospadias, low and probably decreasing semen quality, a rising incidence of testicular cancer and a growing demand for assisted reproduction. These changes seem to be interrelated and may be symptoms of a common underlying entity, the testicular dysgenesis syndrome, with foundations in fetal life due to adverse environmental influences. Wildlife experience and animal studies have provided evidence that fetal or perinatal exposure to endocrine disrupters results in disturbed sexual differentiation and urogenital malformations followed by decreased reproductive health in adult life. This chapter reviews existing evidence for a connection between (i) exposure to endocrine disrupters in fetal life and childhood and (ii) adult reproductive health in humans. This topic is not only relevant to basic scientists but also to clinical endocrinologists, who should also be encouraged to participate in research concerning this problem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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