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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Apr;21(8):5457-64. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2570-z. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Anogenital distance and its application in environmental health research.

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Laboratory of Environmental Medicine and Developmental Toxicology, Shantou University Medical College, 22 Xinling Rd., Shantou, 515041, China.


Anogenital distance (AGD), a useful anthropometric measurement for genital development in both animals and humans, was originally found by reproductive toxicologists in rodent experiments. As an easy-to-measure and sensitive marker, AGD has become a bioassay of fetal androgen action and a well-established reproductive toxicity endpoint in animals. It is generally accepted that AGD is sexually dimorphic in many mammals, with males having longer AGD than females. Exposure to proposed endocrine disruptors may result in reduced AGD; thus, it has been used to measure health effects of compounds with endocrine-altering properties or endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in environmental toxicology. Moreover, AGD is an important clinical measure to address endocrine-sensitive endpoints in the first year of life and to assess the adverse impact of in utero exposure to environmental EDCs. Recently, AGD has been identified as one of the endpoints in the US Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for reproductive toxicity studies in humans, but use of AGD in human studies is still rare, and the results remain mixed and inconclusive due to many reasons. In order to achieve a breakthrough, researchers are endeavoring to standardize the measurement of AGD, normalize age-specific population data in different ethnic groups, and conduct more in-depth human researches in this field.

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