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Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Apr;121(4):453-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205118. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Associations of in utero exposure to perfluorinated alkyl acids with human semen quality and reproductive hormones in adult men.

Author information

1
Danish Ramazzini Centre, Department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark. anneveed@rm.dk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Perfluorinated alkyl acids (PFAAs), persistent chemicals with unique water-, dirt-, and oil-repellent properties, are suspected of having endocrine-disrupting activity. The PFAA compounds perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are found globally in humans; because they readily cross the placental barrier, in utero exposure may be a cause for concern.

OBJECTIVES:

We investigated whether in utero exposure to PFOA and PFOS affects semen quality, testicular volume, and reproductive hormone levels.

METHODS:

We recruited 169 male offspring (19-21 years of age) from a pregnancy cohort established in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1988-1989, corresponding to 37.6% of the eligible sons. Each man provided a semen sample and a blood sample. Semen samples were analyzed for sperm concentration, total sperm count, motility, and morphology, and blood samples were used to measure reproductive hormones. As a proxy for in utero exposure, PFOA and PFOS were measured in maternal blood samples from pregnancy week 30.

RESULTS:

Multivariable linear regression analysis suggested that in utero exposure to PFOA was associated with lower adjusted sperm concentration (ptrend = 0.01) and total sperm count (ptrend = 0.001) and with higher adjusted levels of luteinizing hormone (ptrend = 0.03) and follicle-stimulating hormone (ptrend = 0.01). PFOS did not appear to be associated with any of the outcomes assessed, before or after adjustment.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results suggest that in utero exposure to PFOA may affect adult human male semen quality and reproductive hormone levels.

PMID:
23360585
PMCID:
PMC3620740
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.1205118
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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