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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014 Mar;217(2-3):370-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.07.012. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Association between serum levels of organochlorine pesticides and sex hormones in adults living in a heavily contaminated area in Brazil.

Author information

1
National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; University of Granada, Granada, Spain. Electronic address: cfreire@ugr.es.
2
National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
3
Endocrine Physiology Department & BIOVASC, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
4
National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Electronic address: koifman@ensp.fiocruz.br.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Several studies have investigated the effects of organochlorine (OC) pesticides on adverse reproductive outcomes. However, few previous studies explored their effects on sex hormones.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the association between serum concentrations of OC pesticides and levels of sex hormones in adult population in a rural area in Brazil heavily contaminated with these pesticides.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional study with 304 men and 300 women was undertaken. Wet weight serum concentrations of 19 OC pesticides (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane [DDT] and hexachlorocyclohexane [HCH], among others) were determined in all participants. Testosterone levels were obtained for men and estradiol, progesterone, prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) for women. Associations between OC pesticides and sex hormones were evaluated using linear regression models.

RESULTS:

Prevalence of women with non-physiological hyperprolactinemia was 4%. After adjusting for serum lipids and confounders, heptachlor and o,p'-DDT concentrations in men were associated with lower testosterone levels, while peri- and postmenopausal women (N=77) showed inverse associations between LH and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDD (dichloro-diphenyl-dichloroethane), endosulfan 1 and 2, aldrin and mirex, as well as between FSH and p,p'-DDD, endosulfan 1 and aldrin. Premenopausal women (N=210) did not show statistically significant associations between OC pesticides and sex hormones.

CONCLUSIONS:

Inverse associations between OC pesticide concentrations and testosterone in men and LH and FSH in peri-/postmenopausal women, together with the high proportion of women with elevated prolactin, suggest that these OC compounds may have triggered anti-androgenic effects in men and estrogenic effects in women in this population.

KEYWORDS:

Endocrine disruptors; Estrogenic compounds; Organochlorines; Pesticides; Testosterone

PMID:
23972672
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.07.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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