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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 13;8(6):e66460. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066460. Print 2013.

Persistent organochlorine pollutants with endocrine activity and blood steroid hormone levels in middle-aged men.

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Inserm U1085, Irset, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe, French West Indies.



Studies relating long-term exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) with endocrine activities (endocrine disrupting chemicals) on circulating levels of steroid hormones have been limited to a small number of hormones and reported conflicting results.


We examined the relationship between serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, androstenedione, androstenediol, testosterone, free and bioavailable testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, estrone, estrone sulphate, estradiol, sex-hormone binding globulin, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone as a function of level of exposure to three POPs known to interfere with hormone-regulated processes in different way: dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene (DDE), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener 153, and chlordecone.


We collected fasting, morning serum samples from 277 healthy, non obese, middle-aged men from the French West Indies. Steroid hormones were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, except for dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, which was determined by immunological assay, as were the concentrations of sex-hormone binding globulin, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. Associations were assessed by multiple linear regression analysis, controlling for confounding factors, in a backward elimination procedure, in multiple bootstrap samples.


DDE exposure was negatively associated to dihydrotestosterone level and positively associated to luteinizing hormone level. PCB 153 was positively associated to androstenedione and estrone levels. No association was found for chlordecone.


These results suggested that the endocrine response pattern, estimated by determining blood levels of steroid hormones, varies depending on the POPs studied, possibly reflecting differences in the modes of action generally attributed to these compounds. It remains to be investigated whether this response pattern is predictive of the subsequent occurrence of disease.

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