OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to investigate reproductive outcomes such as birthweight, preterm births, and postterrm births among women working in research laboratories while pregnant. METHODS: Female university personnel were identified from a source cohort of Swedish laboratory employees, and the database was linked to the medical birth register. The first births of the women were included in the analysis, 249 pregnancies among the women with laboratory work and 613 pregnancies among the women without laboratory tasks. Information about exposure to various laboratory agents was obtained from a previous questionnaire investigation at the research group level according to a specific definition. The ponderal index and ratio between observed and expected birthweights were calculated. Logistic regression models were used for analyses of dichotomous outcomes (preterm, postterrm and birthweight). RESULTS: Exposure to laboratory work with solvents was associated with an increased risk of preterm births, the estimated odds ratio (OR) being 3.4 (1.0
Early treatment for cryptorchidism may be necessary to preserve fertility. International guidelines now recommend that congenital cryptorchidism be treated with orchiopexy before age 1 year. Acquired cryptorchidism should be treated at presentation. To our knowledge the rate of adherence to these guidelines in recent years is unknown. Thus, we present data on age at cryptorchidism diagnosis and orchiopexy in recent Danish birth cohorts.
A population of 508,964 Danish boys born alive from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2009 was identified using the Danish Civil Registration System. Five birth cohorts were defined, including 1995 to 1997, 1998 to 2000, 2001 to 2003, 2004 to 2006 and 2007 to 2009. The boys were followed in the Danish National Patient Registry for a diagnosis of cryptorchidism and for an orchiopexy procedure. Data were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier estimator and Cox regression models.
During followup 10,094 boys were diagnosed with cryptorchidism, of whom 5,473 underwent orchiopexy. Mean age at diagnosis in boys followed at least 6 years was 3.3 years (95% CI 3.3-3.4) in the 1995 to 1997 cohort, 3.1 (95% CI 3.1-3.2) in the 1998 to 2000 cohort and 2.9 (95% CI 2.8-2.9) in the 2001 to 2003 cohort while mean age at orchiopexy was 3.8 (3.7-3.9), 3.6 (3.5-3.7) and 3.3 years (3.2-3.4), respectively.
In the more recent birth cohorts of 1995 to 2009 we observed a shift toward younger age at cryptorchidism diagnosis and orchiopexy.
The authors studied the association between female and male alcohol intakes at the time of conception and the risk of spontaneous abortion, including early pregnancy loss detected by urinary human chorionic gonadotropin. After a nationwide mailing to about 50,000 members of four trade unions in Denmark in 1992-1994, 430 couples without previous pregnancy attempts were enrolled when birth control was discontinued, and they were followed until a clinically recognized pregnancy or for six menstrual cycles. Alcohol intake and potential confounding factors were reported in monthly questionnaires. Women collected morning urine for 10 days from the first day of vaginal bleeding in each cycle. The authors detected 186 pregnancies: 131 resulted in childbirth, and 55 resulted in spontaneous abortion (34 detected by urinary human chorionic gonadotropin). Depending on the intake in the cycle of conception and the adjustment factors, female alcohol intake was associated with 2-3 times the adjusted risk of spontaneous abortion compared with no intake, and male alcohol intake was associated with 2-5 times the adjusted risk. Only the adjusted relative risks for 10 or more drinks/week compared with no intake were statistically significant. Both male and female alcohol intakes during the week of conception increased the risk of early pregnancy loss.
Prenatal exposure to phthalates may pose a threat to human male reproduction. However, additional knowledge about the in vivo effect in humans is needed, and reported associations with genital abnormalities are inconclusive. We aimed to study prenatal di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) exposure in relation to cryptorchidism, hypospadias, and human fetal Leydig cell function.
We studied 270 cryptorchidism cases, 75 hypospadias cases, and 300 controls. Second-trimester amniotic fluid samples were available from a Danish pregnancy-screening biobank (n = 25,105) covering 1980-1996. We assayed metabolites of DEHP and DiNP (n = 645) and steroid hormones (n = 545) by mass spectrometry. We assayed insulin-like factor 3 by immunoassay (n = 475) and analyzed data using linear or logistic regression.
Mono(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (5cx-MEPP, DEHP metabolite) was not consistently associated with cryptorchidism or hypospadias. However, we observed an 18% higher (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5%-33%) testosterone level, and a 41% lower (-56% to -21%) insulin-like factor 3 level in the highest 5cx-MEPP tertile compared with the lowest. Mono(4-methyl-7-carboxyheptyl) phthalate (7cx-MMeHP, DiNP metabolite) showed elevated odds ratio point estimates for having cryptorchidism (odds ratio = 1.28 [95% CI = 0.80 to 2.01]) and hypospadias (1.69 [0.78 to 3.67]), but was not consistently associated with the steroid hormones or insulin-like factor 3.
Data on the DEHP metabolite indicate possible interference with human male fetal gonadal function. Considering the DiNP metabolite, we cannot exclude (nor statistically confirm) an association with hypospadias and, less strongly, with cryptorchidism.
Low participation in population-based follow-up studies addressing psychosocial risk factors may cause biased estimation of health risk but the issue has seldom been examined. We compared risk estimates for selected health outcomes among respondents and the entire source population.
In a Danish cohort study of associations between psychosocial characteristics of the work environment and mental health, the source population of public service workers comprised 10,036 employees in 502 work units of which 4,489 participated (participation rate 45%). Data on the psychosocial work environment were obtained for each work unit by calculating the average of the employee self-reports. The average values were assigned all employees and non-respondent at the work unit. Outcome data on sick leave and prescription of antidepressant medication during the follow-up period (1.4.2007-31.12.2008) was obtained by linkage to national registries.
Respondents differed at baseline from non-respondents by gender, age, employment status, sick leave and hospitalization for affective disorders. However, risk estimates for sick leave and prescription of antidepressant medication, during follow-up, based on the subset of participants, did only differ marginally from risk estimates based upon the entire population.
We found no indications that low participation at baseline distorts the estimates of associations between the work unit level of psychosocial work environment and mental health outcomes during follow-up. These results may not be valid for other exposures or outcomes.
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To examine the association between low serum vitamin D concentration and estimates of male reproductive function.
From a Danish pregnancy cohort established in 1984-1987, 347 sons were selected for a study conducted in 2005-2006.
Semen parameters and reproductive hormones were related to vitamin D concentrations in 307 men.
Semen characteristics and reproductive hormones.
A high vitamin D level was unexpectedly associated with lower crude median total sperm count and percentage of normal morphology sperm and a high level of crude median sex hormone-binding globulin and FSH. After adjustment, the associations attenuated to nonsignificant associations, except for sex hormone-binding globulin. Additionally, adjusted free androgen index was lower at higher vitamin D levels, and men with high vitamin D had 11% (95% confidence interval, 1%-20%) lower free androgen index compared with men with low vitamin D.
These results do not indicate that low vitamin D is a risk factor for poor semen quality in a population of young healthy men, but we may not have enough men with low vitamin D levels to detect an effect. New studies should include a larger proportion of vitamin D-deficient men.
To investigate the association between serum antim?llerian hormone (AMH) and other reproductive parameters in young women.
Population-based cohort of 256 women: 180 were users and 76 were nonusers of hormonal contraceptives.
Antral follicles, androgens, age at menarche, and duration and regularity of menstrual cycle.
AMH levels were lower among users of hormonal contraceptives compared to nonusers. Among nonusers, women with AMH levels in the upper tertile had 55% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 22%-99%) higher levels of total T and 8% (95% CI = 2%-15%) longer menstrual cycles than women with AMH levels in the lower tertile. An increase of 1 ng/mL in AMH was associated with 45% (95% CI = 6%-97%) higher prevalence of irregular menstrual cycles. These associations were not seen among users of hormonal contraceptives. A strong relationship between AMH and follicle number was found in both users and nonusers.
AMH measurements were found to be applicable in evaluation of the reproductive function of young women. However, there may be differences in the way that serum AMH levels can be interpreted depending on whether the woman uses hormonal contraceptives or not.
Animal studies indicate that some phthalate metabolites may harm female reproductive function.
We assessed the associations between exposure to phthalate metabolites and pregnancy loss.
Using a previously established cohort of couples planning their first pregnancy, we analyzed four primary and two oxidized secondary phthalate metabolites in urine samples collected on day 10 after the first day of the last menstrual period before conception occurred (n = 128) and during the previous cycle (if any, n = 111). Subclinical embryonal loss was identified by repeated measurement of urinary human chorionic gonadotropin, and information on clinical spontaneous abortions was obtained by telephone interview with the mother.
Pregnancy loss (n = 48) was increased among women with urinary concentration of monoethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP) in the upper tertile in the conception sample compared with women in the lowest tertile [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 2.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 7.6]. The corresponding OR for subclinical embryonal loss (n = 32) was 40.7 (95% CI: 4.5, 369.5).
The phthalate metabolite MEHP was associated with higher occurrence of pregnancy loss. Because this is the first human study to show this association and the sample size is small, the findings need to be corroborated in independent studies.
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Association of maternal serum concentrations of 2,2', 4,4'5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE) levels with birth weight, gestational age and preterm births in Inuit and European populations.
Epidemiological studies on the association between maternal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and fetal growth alteration report inconsistent findings which weights in favor of additional studies.
Blood samples were collected from interviewed pregnant women in Greenland (572), Kharkiv (611) and Warsaw (258) and were analyzed for CB-153 and p,p'-DDE by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Data on birth weight, gestational age and preterm birth were obtained for 1322 singleton live births. We examined the association between natural log-transformed serum POPs concentration and birth weight and gestational age using multiple linear regression and the association with prematurity using logistic regression controlling for potential confounding factors.
The median serum concentrations of CB-153 and p,p'-DDE were for Inuit mothers 105.6 and 298.9, for Kharkiv mothers 27.0 and 645.4 and for Warsaw mothers 10.7 and 365.2 ng/g lipids, respectively. Increase in CB-153 concentration by one unit on the log scale in Inuit mothers serum was associated with significant decrease in infant birth weight of -59 g and gestational age by -0.2 week. Decreases observed in the cohorts in Kharkiv (-10 g and -0.1 week) and in Warsaw (-49 g and -0.2 week) were not statistically significant. Increase in p,p'-DDE concentration by one unit on the log scale was associated with a statistically significant decrease in infant birth weight of -39.4 g and -104.3 g and shortening of gestational age of -0.2 week and -0.6 week in the Inuit and Warsaw cohorts, respectively. In the Kharkiv cohort decrease in birth weight (-30.5 g) was not significant, however a shortening of gestational age of -0.2 week per increase in p,p'-DDE concentration by one unit on the log scale was of the borderline significance. There was no significant association between CB-153 and p,p'-DDE concentrations and risk of preterm birth however, in all cohorts the odds ratio was above 1.
In utero exposure to POPs may reduce birth weight and gestational age of newborns however, new insights as to why results vary across studies were not apparent.
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Perfluorinated alkyl acids (PFAAs), persistent chemicals with unique water-, dirt-, and oil-repellent properties, are suspected of having endocrine-disrupting activity. The PFAA compounds perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are found globally in humans; because they readily cross the placental barrier, in utero exposure may be a cause for concern.
We investigated whether in utero exposure to PFOA and PFOS affects semen quality, testicular volume, and reproductive hormone levels.
We recruited 169 male offspring (19-21 years of age) from a pregnancy cohort established in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1988-1989, corresponding to 37.6% of the eligible sons. Each man provided a semen sample and a blood sample. Semen samples were analyzed for sperm concentration, total sperm count, motility, and morphology, and blood samples were used to measure reproductive hormones. As a proxy for in utero exposure, PFOA and PFOS were measured in maternal blood samples from pregnancy week 30.
Multivariable linear regression analysis suggested that in utero exposure to PFOA was associated with lower adjusted sperm concentration (ptrend = 0.01) and total sperm count (ptrend = 0.001) and with higher adjusted levels of luteinizing hormone (ptrend = 0.03) and follicle-stimulating hormone (ptrend = 0.01). PFOS did not appear to be associated with any of the outcomes assessed, before or after adjustment.
The results suggest that in utero exposure to PFOA may affect adult human male semen quality and reproductive hormone levels.
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