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Hum Reprod. 2005 Jul;20(7):1903-9. Epub 2005 Apr 28.

Exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants associates with human sperm Y:X chromosome ratio.

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  • 1Fertility Centre, Scanian Andrology Centre, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, SE 205 02 Malmö, Sweden.



During the last decades, there has been concern that exposure to endocrine disruptors, such as persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs), may contribute to sex ratio changes in offspring of exposed populations.


To investigate whether exposure to 2,2'4,4'5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene (p,p'-DDE) affect Y:X chromosome proportion, semen of 149 Swedish fishermen, aged 27-67 years, was investigated. The men provided semen and blood for analysis of hormone, CB-153 and p,p'-DDE levels. The proportion of Y- and X-chromosome bearing sperm in semen samples was determined by two-colour fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis.


Log transformed CB-153 as well as log transformed p,p'-DDE variables were both significantly positively associated with Y chromosome fractions (P-values = 0.05 and <0.001, respectively). Neither age, smoking nor hormone levels showed any association with Y-chromosome fractions.


This is the first study to indicate that exposure to POPs may increase the proportion of ejaculated Y-bearing spermatozoa. These data add to the growing body of evidence that exposure to POPs may alter the offspring sex ratio.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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