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.
The etiology of hypospadias is poorly understood. Exposure to pesticides has been considered a risk factor, although findings are inconsistent. Diet constitutes a significant exposure route for pesticides, and pesticide residues are more frequently reported in conventional than organic food products. We examined the association between organic dietary choice during pregnancy and presence of hypospadias in the offspring.
Mothers of 306 boys operated on for hypospadias were frequency matched for geography and child birth year to 306 mothers of healthy boys in a case-control study. Telephone interviews were conducted regarding demographic and lifestyle factors, including intake and organic choice of selected food items (milk, dairy products, egg, fruit, vegetables and meat). Logistic regression models were constructed for dietary variables, and odds ratios were calculated controlling for maternal age, body mass index and alcohol consumption.
Overall organic choice of food items during pregnancy was not associated with hypospadias in the offspring. However, frequent current consumption of high fat dairy products (milk, butter) while rarely or never choosing the organic alternative to these products during pregnancy was associated with increased odds of hypospadias (adjusted OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.09-4.36).
This large case-control study of boys operated on for hypospadias suggests an association between hypospadias in the offspring and the mother not choosing the organic alternative, and having a high current intake of nonorganic butter and cheese. This finding could be due to chemical contamination of high fat dairy products. However, general lifestyle and health behavior related to choosing organic alternatives may also explain the finding.
Reports based on national registers of congenital malformations have suggested that the birth rate of hypospadias has increased during the last few decades. Register-based information may, however, have pitfalls because of changes in diagnostics, reporting accuracy and registration system. The aim of this study was to determine the current birth rate of hypospadias in Turku University Central Hospital (TUCH) in Finland. This was a prospective study on live-born boys born in TUCH from 1997 to 1999. In the total birth cohort (n=5,798) as well as in a special subcohort group (n=1,505) 0.3% of boys had hypospadias. Only one scrotal hypospadias was found in a boy who had a chromosomal anomaly. Other hypospadias were glandular or coronal. No increase was found in the birth rate of hypospadias when comparing our result with register-based data of boys born in Finland during the years 1970 to 1986 and surgically treated for hypospadias by the age of 8 years. No difference was found either from malformation register-based data concerning the nationwide birth rate of hypospadias during the years 1993 to 1998. Due to differences in national registration systems between countries, prospective studies with equal assessment criteria are needed in order to make reliable international comparisons.
With the aid of data in the Swedish Medical Birth Registry for infants with hypospadias and controls, a number of variables were compared. Records of infants born in 1982-1983 (188 cases and 376 matched controls) contained information on involuntary infertility, previous spontaneous and induced abortions, use of oral contraceptives or a remaining IUD at conception, smoking in early pregnancy, occupation in early pregnancy, family situation, and diagnoses given during pregnancy and at delivery, including information on caesarean section and vacuum extraction. Among all variables studied, only one group of statistically significant differences appeared: women whose sons had hypospadias more often than controls had a diagnosis of weak contractions, a higher rate of induced deliveries, and also a higher rate of caesarean sections. The finding of a higher caesarean section rate in infants with hypospadias was verified in a separate study of 1,736 hypospadic infants delivered in 1973-1981 and compared with all births in Sweden during that period. No difference in the rate of vacuum extractions was seen. This finding is interpreted as a result of an abnormality of the fetal-placental-maternal organism interaction, perhaps also disturbing the early pregnancy and increasing the risk for hypospadias.
Birth prevalences of congenital anomalies in the American Indians of British Columbia are compared with those of the total British Columbia population. This study is based on data from the British Columbia Health Surveillance Registry for a 16-year period (1966-1981) judged to be the most reliable reporting period in the 35-year history of the registry. The overall congenital anomaly frequency is lower in Indians than in the general population (45 versus 60 per 1,000 livebirths). The Indian rates for individual anomalies are lower than the corresponding general population rates with the exception of orofacial clefting and congenital heart defects. Defects of the central nervous system in both populations are comparable. There is a striking paucity of hypospadias, other anomalies of the genital organs and foot deformities in Indian males. It is suggested that the differences in the congenital anomaly rates between the American Indians and the non-Indians of British Columbia may reflect genetic differences between the two groups, but differences in ascertainment and infant mortality probably also play a role.
BACKGROUND: Diabetes type 1 is associated with an increased risk for infant congenital malformations. It is debated whether this is true also at gestational diabetes. AIMS: To study occurrence of congenital malformations in infants whose mothers had preexisting or gestational diabetes. STUDY DESIGN: A register study covering over 1.2 million Swedish births in 1987-1997 based on the Swedish health registries. SUBJECTS: We identified from the Medical Birth Registry 3864 infants born of women with preexisting diabetes and 8688 infants born of women with gestational diabetes. OUTCOMES MEASURES: Congenital malformations identified in the Medical Birth Registry, the Registry of Congenital Malformations, and the Hospital Discharge Registry. The rates of congenital malformations among these infants was compared with the population rates. RESULTS: At preexisting diabetes, the total malformation rate was 9.5% while the rate at gestational diabetes was similar to the population rate, 5.7%. At preexisting diabetes, certain conditions were more common than expected: orofacial clefts, cardiovascular defects, oesophageal/intestinal atresia, hypospadias, limb reduction defects, spine malformations, and polydactyly. For some of these conditions, an excess was found also for infants whose mothers had gestational diabetes. Infants with multiple malformations were in excess at preexisting diabetes but not at gestational diabetes but the specific type of malformations involved were similar in the two diabetes groups. CONCLUSIONS: It is suggested that in the group of gestational diabetes exists a subgroup with an increased risk for a diabetes embryopathy, perhaps due to preexisting but undetected diabetes type 2.
Cryptorchidism and hypospadias have been related to prenatal estrogen exposure in animal models. Some chemicals used in farming and gardening have been shown to possess estrogenic and other hormone-disrupting effects. Earlier studies have indicated increased risks of urogenital malformations in the sons of pesticide appliers. In the present study, parental occupation in the farming and gardening industry among 6,177 cases of cryptorchidism, 1,345 cases of hypospadias, and 23,273 controls, born live from 1983 to 1992 in Denmark, was investigated in a register-based case-control study. A significantly increased risk of cryptorchidism but not hypospadias was found in sons of women working in gardening (adjusted odds ratio = 1.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.14-2.47). The risks were not increased in sons of men working in farming or gardening. The increased risk of cryptorchidism among sons of female gardeners could suggest an association with prenatal exposure to occupationally related chemicals.