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Environ Res. 2015 Oct;142:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Jun 15.

Phthalate exposure and human semen quality: Results from an infertility clinic in China.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China; Key Laboratory of Environment and Health, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Environmental Protection, and State Key Laboratory of Environmental Health (incubating), School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China.
2
Reproductive Medicine Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China.
3
Reproductive Medicine Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China. Electronic address: yufengli64@yahoo.com.cn.
4
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China; Key Laboratory of Environment and Health, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Environmental Protection, and State Key Laboratory of Environmental Health (incubating), School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China. Electronic address: luwq@mails.tjmu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Exposure to phthalates has been demonstrated to have adverse effects on male reproduction in animal studies, but findings in human studies have been inconsistent. We recruited 1040 men from the Reproductive Center of Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China from March to June 2013. Each man provided one semen sample and two urine samples. Semen quality parameters and the urinary concentrations of eight phthalate metabolites were determined. After multivariable adjustments, the urinary concentrations of monobutyl phthalate (MBP) were found to be positively associated with the below-reference sperm concentration and total sperm count, and the odds ratios (ORs) comparing extreme MBP quartiles were 2.01 (95% CI: 1.07, 3.79; p for trend=0.06) and 1.80 (95% CI: 1.05, 3.08; p for trend=0.02), respectively. The associations were confirmed by multivariable linear regression analysis, which showed that the MBP concentration was significantly associated with decreasing trends in the sperm concentration and total sperm count (both p for trend <0.05). Additionally, we found significant dose-dependent relationships of the urinary level of mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) and the percentage of di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate metabolites (DEHP) excreted as MEHP (%MEHP) with an increased percentage of abnormal heads (both p for trend <0.01). Our findings suggest that environmental exposure to di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) and DEHP may contribute to a decline in semen quality.

KEYWORDS:

Epidemiology; Exposure; Fertility; Phthalates; Semen quality

PMID:
26087406
DOI:
10.1016/j.envres.2015.06.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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