Congenital cryptorchidism, i.e. failure of the testicular descent to the bottom of the scrotum, is a common birth defect. The evidence from epidemiological, wildlife, and animal studies suggests that exposure to mixtures of endocrine disrupting chemicals during fetal development may play a role in its pathogenesis. We aimed to assess the association between cryptorchidism and prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
We conducted a case-control study consisting of 44 cryptorchid cases, and 38 controls operated for inguinal hernia, umbilical hernia, or hydrocele at the Turku University Hospital or Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen in 2002-2006. During the operation a subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsy was taken. Samples were analysed for 37 PCBs, 17 PCDD/Fs and 14 PBDEs by gas chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. Chemical concentrations were adjusted for postnatal variation introduced by differences in duration of breastfeeding, age at the operation, and country of origin with a multiple linear regression. Association between adjusted and unadjusted chemical concentrations and the risk of cryptorchidism were analysed with logistic regression to get an estimate for odds ratio (OR) of cryptorchidism per multiplication of chemical concentrations with ca. 2.71 (Napier's constant).
Total-TEq i.e. the WHO-recommended 2,3,7,8-TCDD equivalent quantity of 17 dioxins and 12 dioxin-like PCBs and sum of PCDD/Fs were positively associated with cryptorchidism [OR 3.21 (95% CI 1.29-9.09), OR 3.69 (95% CI 1.45-10.9), respectively], when adjusting for country of origin, the duration the child was breastfed, and age at operation. The association between the sum of PCBs and cryptorchidism was close to significant [OR 1.92 (95% CI 0.98-4.01)], whereas the association between the sum of PBDEs and cryptorchidism was not [OR 0.86 (95% CI 0.47-1.54)]. There were no associations between unadjusted chemical concentrations and the risk of cryptorchidism.
Prenatal exposure to PCDD/Fs and PCDD/F-like PCBs may be associated with increased risk for cryptorchidism. Our finding does not exclude the possibility of an association between the exposure to PBDEs and cryptorchidism.
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Is the placental burden of organotin compounds (OTCs) associated with congenital cryptorchidism in infant offspring from Finland and Denmark?
Increasing concentrations of OTCs had a negative association with cryptorchidism in Finland, whereas a positive association was found in Denmark.
The rapid increase in the prevalence of cryptorchidism suggests that environmental factors, such as endocrine disruptors, may be involved. OTCs are endocrine disruptors at very low concentrations due to activation of the retinoid X receptor (RXR).
Between the years 1997 and 2001, placentas from mothers of cryptorchid boys and from healthy controls were collected from Denmark (39 cases, 129 controls) and Finland (56 cases, 56 controls). In Denmark 33 and 6 boys, and in Finland 22 and 34 boys had mild or severe cryptorchidism, respectively. The association between concentrations of four OTCs [monobutyltin (MBT), dibutyltin (DBT), tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPhT)] and case-control status was estimated.
In both countries, placenta samples were selected from larger cohorts. In Finland placenta samples were collected from boys with cryptorchidism at birth and matched controls (nested case-control design). Matching criteria were parity, maternal smoking (yes/no), diabetes (yes/no), gestational age (±7 days) and date of birth (±14 days). Numbers of controls per case was 1. In Denmark, all available placentas from cryptorchid boys were chosen and control placentas were selected randomly from the total Danish cohort (case-cohort design). The average number of controls per case was 3.3. OTCs in placenta samples were analysed with liquid extraction, ethylation and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry determination and coded by country-specific tertiles.
Generally, the concentrations of OTCs were very low. For most analytes, a large proportion of samples (29-96% depending on the country and case-control status) had OTC concentrations below the limit of quantification (LOQ). As an exception, the concentration of TBT was >LOQ in 99% of Finnish placentas. The mean concentrations of DBT and TBT were 1.5 and 7 times higher in Finland than in Denmark, respectively. For DBT in Danish placentas, the odds ratio (OR) for cryptorchidism in the second tertile (0.10-0.14 ng/g) when compared with the first tertile (
Humans are exposed to tributyltin (TBT), previously used as an antifouling paint in ships, mainly through fish consumption. As TBT is a known obesogen, we studied the association of placenta TBT and other organotin compounds (OTCs) with ponderal index (PI) and growth during the first 18 months of life in boys.
In a prospective Finnish study, 110 placenta samples were collected from mothers of boys born in 1997-1999 with (n?=?55) and without (n?=?55) cryptorchidism. To account for the original study design, linear regression, weighted for sampling fractions of boys with (121/55) and without (5677/55) cryptorchidism from the total cohort, was used to study the association between placenta OTCs and children's weight, length, growth rates and PI up to 18 months of age.
Placenta TBT concentrations were above the limit of quantification (LOQ) in 99% of the samples. However, monobutyltin (MBT), dibutyltin (DBT) and triphenyltin (TPhT) concentrations were below LOQ in 90%, 35% and 57% of samples, respectively. Placenta TBT was positively associated (p?=?0.024) with weight gain during the first three months of life, but no other significant associations were observed for weight or length gain. Also, no significant associations between placenta OTC concentrations and child length, weight or PI at any time point were found.
We observed a trend towards higher weight gain from birth to 3 months of age with increasing placenta TBT concentration. These results should be interpreted with caution because obesogenic effects in animal experiments were seen after in-utero TBT exposures to doses that were orders of magnitude higher. Also the number of study subjects included in this study was limited.
Cites: Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2013 May 6;370(1-2):52-6423428407
Conflicting data on circannual variation in birth rates of urogenital malformations have been reported previously. To assess risk factors of cryptorchidism we studied the seasonal variation of cryptorchidism in Finland. We performed a prospective cryptorchidism study in Turku, Finland, from 1997 to 2001 to evaluate the incidence of cryptorchidism. Clinical examinations were performed at birth and at 3 months. Of 9511 liveborn boys (1471 preterm boys) 216 (53 preterm boys) were cryptorchid at birth and 106 (19 preterm boys) at 3 months. The incidence of cryptorchidism was significantly higher in spring (February-April) (3.0%) than in summer (May-July) (1.7%) (OR 1.79; 95% CI: 1.23-2.63). This seasonal difference was observed both among preterm and term boys. We conclude that a circannual fluctuation in the incidence of cryptorchidism exists, which indicates an influence by environmental factors. The underlying reason for cyclicity affects similarly both preterm and term boys.
The prevalence of male reproductive disorders, such as testicular cancer and impaired semen quality, is increasing in many, albeit not all, countries. These disorders are aetiologically linked with congenital cryptorchidism and hypospadias by common factors leading to perinatal disruption of normal testis differentiation, the testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS). There is recent evidence that also the prevalence of genital malformations is increasing and the rapid pace of increase suggests that lifestyle factors and exposure to environmental chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties may play a role. Recent prospective studies have established links between perinatal exposure to persistent halogenated compounds and cryptorchidism, as well as between phthalates and anti-androgenic effects in newborns. Maternal alcohol consumption, mild gestational diabetes and nicotine substitutes were also identified as potential risk factors for cryptorchidism. It may be the cocktail effect of many simultaneous exposures that result in adverse effects, especially during foetal life and infancy.
Phthalates adversely affect the male reproductive system in animals. We investigated whether phthalate monoester contamination of human breast milk had any influence on the postnatal surge of reproductive hormones in newborn boys as a sign of testicular dysgenesis. DESIGN: We obtained biologic samples from a prospective Danish-Finnish cohort study on cryptorchidism from 1997 to 2001. We analyzed individual breast milk samples collected as additive aliquots 1-3 months postnatally (n = 130; 62 cryptorchid/68 healthy boys) for phthalate monoesters [mono-methyl phthalate (mMP), mono-ethyl phthalate (mEP), mono-n-butyl phthalate (mBP), mono-benzyl phthalate (mBzP), mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (mEHP), mono-isononyl phthalate (miNP)]. We analyzed serum samples (obtained in 74% of all boys) for gonadotropins, sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, and inhibin B. RESULTS: All phthalate monoesters were found in breast milk with large variations [medians (minimum-maximum)]: mMP 0.10 (
Context: Recent studies showed that male reproductive health problems like cryptorchidism, hypospadias, testicular cancer and low sperm quality are more prevalent in Denmark than in Finland. Objectives: We hypothesized that if fetal testicular dysgenesis contributed to these observations, differences in gonadal development and the hypothalamus-pituitary-testis axis would already be detectable perinatally. Thus, we investigated healthy newborn boys in both countries. Design: Prospective, longitudinal population-based study. Setting: Two primary obstetric centers at the University Hospitals of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Turku, Finland Participants: 633 Danish / 1044 Finnish boys, born at term with appropriate weight for gestational age Interventions: ultrasound determination of testis size at 0-3-18 months and blood sampling (n = 727) at 3 months Main outcome measures: testicular volume, reproductive hormones Results: Testis volume was significantly higher at all ages in Finnish than in Danish boys (medians: 98 vs. 95 mm(3), 185 vs. 119 mm(3) and 188 vs. 136 mm(3), respectively, P
Geographical differences in the occurrence of diseases in male reproductive organs, including malformation in reproductive tract, between Denmark and Finland have been reported. The reason for these differences is unknown, but differences in exposure to chemicals with endocrine-disrupting abilities have been suggested. Among these chemicals are perfluoro-alkylated substances (PFASs), a group of water- and grease-repellent chemicals used in outdoor clothes, cookware, food packaging, and textiles. In this study, we, therefore, investigated differences in PFAS exposure levels between Denmark and Finland and the association between cord blood PFAS levels and congenital cryptorchidism. Boys from a joint ongoing prospective birth cohort study were included. We analyzed PFAS levels in cord blood serum samples collected from 29 Danish boys with congenital cryptorchidism, 30 healthy Danish matched controls recruited from 1997 to 2001, 30 Finnish cases, and 78 Finnish healthy matched controls recruited from 1997 to 1999. Additionally, 48 Finnish cases recruited from 2000 to 2002 were included. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) were detected in all the 215 Danish and Finnish cord blood samples with significantly higher levels being observed in the Danish samples (medians: PFOA, 2.6?ng/ml and PFOS, 9.1?ng/ml) than in the Finnish samples (medians: PFOA, 2.1?ng/ml and PFOS, 5.2?ng/ml). We found no associations between cord blood PFOA and PFOS levels and congenital cryptorchidism after adjustment for confounders. Our data indicate that women in Denmark and Finland are generally exposed to PFOA and PFOS but there are differences in exposure levels between countries. We found no statistically significant association between cord blood PFOA and PFOS levels and congenital cryptorchidism; however, our study was small and larger studies are warranted.
OBJECTIVE: Infant boys show a brief activation of their hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis shortly after birth, the physiological significance of which is poorly understood. The objective of the study was to investigate the correlation between endogenous testosterone levels and penile size and growth. DESIGN: Prospective, longitudinal population-based study taking place at two large primary obstetric centres at the University Hospitals of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Turku, Finland. METHODS: Infant boys, 728 Danish and 1234 Finnish, underwent clinical examinations at 0, 3, 18 and 36 months in Denmark and at 0, 3 and 18 months in Finland with blood samples taken at 3 months (n = 630). Penile length and growth were registered and reproductive hormones (testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, oestradiol) were analysed. RESULTS: Penile length increased from birth (3.49+/-0.4 cm) to 3 years of age (4.53+/-0.51 cm) with the highest growth velocity from birth to 3 months (1.0 mm/month). Penile length and growth were significantly, positively correlated to serum testosterone (r = 0.31 and 0.076, P = 0.006 and 0.001 respectively) and to free testosterone index (r = 0.385 and 0.094, P = 0.0001 and 0.0001 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: We found that endogenous testosterone was significantly associated with penile size and growth rate in infant boys. Thus, the postnatal surge in reproductive hormones appears to be important for genital growth. Our data may serve as an updated reference for normal penile length in Caucasian boys up to 3 years of age.
Does semen quality improve during early adulthood?
Semen variables change little during the third decade of life, however some improvement in sperm morphology and motility may occur.
A suspicion of deteriorating semen quality has been raised in several studies. The longitudinal development of semen quality in early adulthood is insufficiently understood.
A longitudinal follow-up of two cohorts of volunteer young adult Finnish men representing the general population was carried out. Cohorts A (discovery cohort, born 1979-1981, n = 336) and B (validation cohort, born 1983, n = 197) were followed up from the age of 19 years onward for 10 years.
Inclusion criteria included that both the men and their mothers were born in Finland. Semen analysis was performed in cohorts A and B at 2-4 year intervals over a period of 10 years. Semen volume, sperm concentration, total sperm count, motility, total motile count and morphology were the variables assessed in the analysis. A physical examination was carried out at each visit to detect any significant andrological abnormalities. The overall participation rate was 13.4%.
During the follow-up, the percentage of sperm with normal morphology and the percentage of motile sperm increased significantly both in the discovery (A) (P
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