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J Clin Epidemiol. 1996 Feb;49(2):263-6.

Self-reported allergy, infection, and autoimmune diseases among men and women exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


Immunotoxicology studies of prenatal or neonatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) show effects on immune function of the adult animal. Prenatally exposed humans are known to be at increased risk of vaginal adenocarcinoma, but little research has been done to assess immunologic function. A placebo-controlled clinical trial of DES was conducted in the early 1950s. The sons and daughters born to participants of this clinical trial were traced and interviewed about immune-related health problems. Symptom and disease rates for the DES exposed (253 sons and 296 daughters) were compared with rates for the unexposed (241 men and 246 women). DES-exposed men and women reported rates of allergy, infection, and autoimmune disease similar to the unexposed. However, because autoimmune diseases are rare, a larger sample is needed to evaluate further DES-associated risk of autoimmunity.

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