OBJECTIVES: Exposure to persistent organohalogen pollutants was suggested to impair male reproductive function. A gene-environment interaction has been proposed. No genes modifying the effect of persistent organohalogen pollutants on reproductive organs have yet been identified. We aimed to investigate whether the CAG and GGN polymorphisms in the androgen receptor gene modify the effect of persistent organohalogen pollutant exposure on human sperm characteristics. METHODS: Semen and blood from 680 men [mean (SD) age 34 (10) years] from Greenland, Sweden, Warsaw (Poland) and Kharkiv (Ukraine) were collected. Persistent organohalogen pollutant exposure was assessed by measuring serum levels of 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene (p,p'-DDE). Semen characteristics (volume, sperm concentration, total count, proportion of progressively motile and morphology) and DNA fragmentation index (DFI) were determined. CAG and GGN repeat lengths were determined by direct sequencing of leukocyte DNA. RESULTS: A statistically significant interaction was found between the CB-153 group and CAG repeat category in relation to sperm concentration and total sperm count (P=0.03 and 0.01, respectively). For p,p'-DDE, in the European cohorts a significant interaction was found in relation to DFI (P=0.01). For CAG
Exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) may have negative impact on male reproductive function. We, therefore, investigated the association between serum levels of POPs and epididymal and accessory sex gland function. Serum levels of CB-153, p,p'-DDE and seminal markers of epididymal [neutral-alpha glucosidase (NAG)], prostatic [prostate specific-antigen (PSA)] and zinc, and seminal vesicle function (fructose) were measured from 135 Swedish fishermen and fertile men from Greenland (n=163), Warsaw, Poland (n=167) and Kharkiv, Ukraine (n=158). Multiple linear regression analyses, adjusting for potential confounders, were employed using both continuous and categorized exposure variables. Both exposure and outcome variables were log transformed. Considering the consistency between models with either continuous or categorized CB-153 levels, negative associations with the activity of NAG were found among Greenlandic men (mean difference 7.0 mU/ejaculate, 95% CI 3.0, 34), and in the aggregated cohort (mean difference 4.0 mU/ejaculate, 95% CI -0.2, 8.0). A positive association was observed between CB-153 and PSA as well as zinc among Kharkiv men. In the Swedish cohort, a negative association was found between CB-153 and fructose. In conclusion, the negative effects of POP on sperm motility, observed in the same study population might partly be caused by post-testicular mechanisms, involving a decreased epididymal function.
Department of Environmental Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark (JLT-P, HRA, PG, and TKJ); the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospitals, Frederiksberg, Denmark (JLT-P and BLH); the National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark (BLH); the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, Sydney Medical School, Sydney, Australia (BLH); the Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (US); and the Department of Environmental Medicine, Faroese Hospital System, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (PW).
Chemicals with endocrine-disrupting abilities may act as obesogens and interfere with the body's natural weight-control mechanisms, especially if exposure occurs during prenatal life.
We examined the association between prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and subsequent obesity at 5 and 7 y of age.
From 1997 to 2000, 656 pregnant Faroese women were recruited. PCB and DDE were measured in maternal serum and breast milk, and children's weight, height, and waist circumference (WC) were measured at clinical examinations at 5 and 7 y of age. The change in body mass index (BMI) from 5 to 7 y of age was calculated. Analyses were performed by using multiple linear regression models for girls and boys separately, taking into account maternal prepregnancy BMI.
For 7-y-old girls who had overweight mothers, PCB was associated with increased BMI (ß = 2.07, P = 0.007), and PCB and DDE were associated with an increased change in BMI from 5 to 7 y of age (PCB: ß = 1.23, P = 0.003; DDE: ß = 1.11, P = 0.008). No association was observed with BMI in girls with normal-weight mothers. PCB was associated with increased WC in girls with overweight mothers (ß = 2.48, P = 0.001) and normal-weight mothers (ß = 1.25, P = 0.04); DDE was associated with increased WC only in girls with overweight mothers (ß = 2.21, P = 0.002). No associations were observed between PCB or DDE and BMI in 5-y-old girls. For boys, no associations were observed.
Results suggest that prenatal exposure to PCB and DDE may play a role for subsequent obesity development. Girls whose mothers have a high prepregnancy BMI seem most affected.
Dioxins, furans, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin-like and non-dioxin-like, have been linked to alterations in puberty.
We examined the association of peripubertal serum levels of these compounds [and their toxic equivalents (TEQs)] with pubertal onset and maturity among Russian boys enrolled at ages 8-9 years and followed prospectively through ages 17-18 years.
At enrollment, 473 boys had serum dioxin-like compounds and PCBs measured. At the baseline visit and annually until age 17-18 years, a physician performed pubertal staging [genitalia (G), pubarche (P), and testicular volume (TV)]. Three hundred fifteen subjects completed the follow-up visit at 17-18 years of age. Pubertal onset was defined as TV > 3 mL, G2, or P2. Sexual maturity was defined as TV = 20 mL, G5, or P5. Multivariable interval-censored models were used to evaluate associations of lipid-standardized concentrations with pubertal timing.
Medians (interquartile ranges) of the sum of dioxin-like compounds, TEQs, and non-dioxin-like PCBs were 362 pg/g lipid (279-495), 21.1 pg TEQ/g lipid (14.4-33.2), and 250 ng/g lipid (164-395), respectively. In adjusted models, the highest compared to lowest TEQ quartile was associated with later pubertal onset [TV = 11.6 months (95% CI: 3.8, 19.4); G2 = 10.1 months (95% CI: 1.4, 18.8)] and sexual maturity [TV = 11.6 months (95% CI: 5.7, 17.6); G5 = 9.7 months (95% CI: 3.1, 16.2)]. However, the highest compared to the lowest quartile of non-dioxin-like PCBs, when co-adjusted by TEQs, was associated with earlier pubertal onset [TV = -8.3 months (95% CI:-16.2, -0.3)] and sexual maturity [TV = -6.3 months (95% CI:-12.2, -0.3); G5 = -7.2 months (95% CI:-13.8, -0.6)]; the non-dioxin-like PCB associations were only significant when adjusted for TEQs. TEQs and PCBs were not significantly associated with pubic hair development.
Our results suggest that TEQs may delay, while non-dioxin-like PCBs advance, the timing of male puberty. Citation: Burns JS, Lee MM, Williams PL, Korrick SA, Sergeyev O, Lam T, Revich B, Hauser R. 2016. Associations of peripubertal serum dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations with pubertal timing among Russian boys. Environ Health Perspect 124:1801-1807; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP154.
Cites: Environ Int. 2014 Oct;71:20-824950161
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Methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are ubiquitous and persistent environmental chemicals with known or suspected toxic effects on the nervous system and the immune system. Animal studies have shown that tissue damage can elicit production of autoantibodies. However, it is not known if autoantibodies similarly will be generated and detectable in humans following toxicant exposures. Therefore, we conducted a pilot study to investigate if autoantibodies specific for neural and non-neural antigens could be detected in children at age 7 years who have been exposed to environmental chemicals. Both prenatal and age-7 exposures to mercury, PCBs, and PFCs were measured in 38 children in the Faroe Islands who were exposed to widely different levels of these chemicals due to their seafood-based diet. Concentrations of IgM and IgG autoantibodies specific to both neural (neurofilaments, cholineacetyltransferase, astrocyte glial fibrillary acidic protein, and myelin basic protein) and non-neural (actin, desmin, and keratin) antigens were measured and the associations of these autoantibody concentrations with chemical exposures were assessed using linear regression. Age-7 blood-mercury concentrations were positively associated with titers of multiple neural- and non-neural-specific antibodies, mostly of the IgM isotype. Additionally, prenatal blood-mercury and -PCBs were negatively associated with anti-keratin IgG and prenatal PFOS was negatively associated with anti-actin IgG. These exploratory findings demonstrate that autoantibodies can be detected in the peripheral blood following exposure to environmental chemicals. The unexpected association of exposures with antibodies specific for non-neural antigens suggests that these chemicals may have toxicities that have not yet been recognized.
Cites: Exp Cell Res. 2004 Nov 15;301(1):1-715501438
Cites: J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Nov;70(21):1873-717934961
Human populations are simultaneously exposed to a variety of anthropogenic contaminants. However, despite extensive literature on animal exposure to single compounds, data on the toxicity of complex mixtures are scarce. The Northern Contaminant Mixture (NCM) was formulated to contain the 27 most abundant contaminants in the same relative proportions found in the blood of Canadian Arctic populations. Sprague-Dawley rat dams were dosed from the first day of gestation until weaning with methylmercury (MeHg), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or organochlorines pesticides (OCs) administered either separately or together in the NCM. An additional control group for hypothyroxinemia was included by dosing dams with the goitrogen 6-propyl-2-thiouracil (PTU). Offspring growth, survival, serum thyroxine and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels, thyroid gland morphology, brain taurine content and cerebellum and hippocampus protein expression patterns resulting from such exposures were monitored. Pups' increased mortality rate and impaired growth observed in the NCM treatment group were attributed to MeHg, while decreased circulating thyroxine levels and perturbations of thyroid gland morphology were mostly attributable to PCBs. Interestingly, despite comparable reduction in serum thyroxine levels, PCBs and PTU exposures produced markedly different effects on pup's growth, serum TSH level and brain taurine content. Analysis of cerebellum and hippocampus protein expression patterns corroborated previous cerebellum gene expression data, as contaminant co-exposure in the NCM significantly masked the effects of individual components on protein two-dimensional electrophoresis patterns. Identification by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS of differentially expressed proteins involved notably in neuronal and mitochondrial functions provided clues on the cellular and molecular processes affected by these contaminant mixtures.
BACKGROUND: Experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) may cause type 2 diabetes mellitus, whereas there is no fully convincing epidemiological evidence for such an association. In Sweden the most important source of POP exposure is fatty fish. We have assessed the association between serum levels of POPs and prevalence of diabetes in Swedish fishermen and their wives, with high consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea. METHODS: In 196 men (median age 60 years) and 184 women (median age 64 years), we analyzed 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE) in serum using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The participants were asked if they had diabetes and, if so, since which year and about medication and diet. The Odds Ratios (OR) for diabetes with respect to continuous exposure variables were analyzed with logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders. Moreover trends of diabetes prevalence with respect to trichotomized exposure variables were tested with Jonckheere-Terpstra's test. RESULTS: Six percent of the men and 5% of the women had diabetes. After confounder adjustment CB-153 was significantly associated with diabetes prevalence using both categorized and continuous exposure data (an increase of 100 ng/g lipid corresponded to an OR of 1.16, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03, 1.32, p = 0.03). Similar associations were observed for p,p'-DDE (an increase of 100 ng/g lipid corresponded to an OR of 1.05, 95% CI 1.01, 1.09, p = 0.006). Gender stratified analyses showed among men consistent positive associations with CB-153, but a more ambiguous pattern with respect to DDE. In contrast, among the women the associations with p,p'-DDE were stronger than with CB-153. CONCLUSION: The study provides support that POP exposure might contribute to type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Animal data demonstrate associations of dioxin, furan, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposures with altered male gonadal maturation. It is unclear whether these associations apply to human populations.
We investigated the association of dioxins, furans, PCBs, and corresponding toxic equivalent (TEQ) concentrations with pubertal onset among boys in a dioxin-contaminated region.
Between 2003 and 2005, 499 boys 8-9 years of age were enrolled in a longitudinal study in Chapaevsk, Russia. Pubertal onset [stage 2 or higher for genitalia (G2+) or testicular volume (TV) > 3 mL] was assessed annually between ages 8 and 12 years. Serum levels at enrollment were analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. We used Cox proportional hazards models to assess age at pubertal onset as a function of exposure adjusted for potential confounders. We conducted sensitivity analyses excluding boys with pubertal onset at enrollment.
The median (range) total serum TEQ concentration was 21 (4-175) pg/g lipid, approximately three times higher than values in European children. At enrollment, boys were generally healthy and normal weight (mean body mass index, 15.9 kg/m2), with 30% having entered puberty by G2+ and 14% by TV criteria. Higher dioxin TEQs were associated with later pubertal onset by TV (hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.95 for the highest compared with the lowest quartile). Similar associations were observed for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and dioxin concentrations for TV but not G2+. Results were robust to sensitivity analyses.
Findings support an association of higher peripubertal serum dioxin TEQs and concentrations with later male pubertal onset reflected in delayed testicular maturation.
Cites: Environ Health Perspect. 2003 May;111(5):737-4112727603
Aboriginal populations living in Canada's northern regions are exposed to a number of persistent organic pollutants through their traditional diet which includes substantial amounts of predator fish species. Exposure to dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) can cause a variety of toxic effects including adverse effects on bone tissue. This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the relationship between plasma concentrations of DLCs and bone quality parameters in Cree women of Eastern James Bay (Canada).
Two hundred and forty-nine Cree women from seven communities in Eastern James Bay (Canada), aged 35 to 74 years old, participated in the study. In order to determine the total DLC concentration in plasma samples of participants, we measured the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated transcriptional activity elicited by plasma sample extracts using a luciferase reporter gene assay. Plasma concentrations of mono-ortho-substituted dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) 105, 118 and 156 were measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Bone quality parameters (speed of sound, m/s; broadband ultrasound attenuation, dB/MHz; stiffness index, %) were assessed by quantitative ultrasound at the right calcaneus with the Achilles InSight system. Several factors known to be associated with osteoporosis were documented by questionnaire. Multiple linear regression models were constructed for the three ultrasound parameters.
DL-PCBs 105 and 118 concentrations, but not the global DLC concentration, were inversely associated with the stiffness index, even after adjusting for several confounding factors. The stiffness index (log) decreased by -0.22% (p=0.0414) and -0.04% (p=0.0483) with an increase of one µg/L in plasma concentrations of DL-PCB 105 and DL-PCB 118, respectively. Other factors, including age, height, smoking status, menopausal status and the percentage of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in erythrocyte membranes were negatively associated with one of the ultrasound parameters, while the percentage of omega-3 PUFAs in these membranes and levels of physical activity and education were positively associated with them.
Our results show that an increase in plasma concentrations of DL-PCBs 105 and 118 was negatively associated with stiffness index, a measure of bone quality/strength, in women of this population. In addition to environmental contaminants, future studies should also consider PUFA intake as a factor influencing bone quality.
Cites: Can J Public Health. 2005 Jan-Feb;96 Suppl 1:S45-5015686153
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Cites: Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Jul;113(7):853-716002372
Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligands adversely affect many biological processes. However, assessment of the significance of human exposures is hampered by an incomplete understanding of how complex mixtures affect AhR activation/inactivation.
These studies used biological readouts to provide a broader context for estimating human risk than that obtained with serum extraction and gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS)-based assays alone.
AhR agonist activity was quantified in sera from dioxin-treated mice, commercial human sources, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-exposed Faroe Islanders using an AhR-driven reporter cell line. To validate relationships between serum AhR agonist levels and biological outcomes, AhR agonist activity in mouse sera correlated with toxic end points. AhR agonist activity in unmanipulated ("neat") human sera was compared with these biologically relevant doses and with GC/MS-assayed PCB levels.
Mouse serum AhR agonist activity correlated with injected dioxin dose, thymic atrophy, and heptomegaly, validating the use of neat serum to assess AhR agonist activity. AhR agonist activity in sera from Faroe Islanders varied widely, was associated with the frequency of recent pilot whale dinners, but did not correlate with levels of PCBs quantified by GC/MS. Surprisingly, significant "baseline" AhR activity was found in commercial human sera.
An AhR reporter assay revealed cumulative levels of AhR activation potential in neat serum, whereas extraction may preclude detection of important non-dioxin-like biological activity. Significant levels of AhR agonist activity in commercial sera and in Faroe Islander sera, compared with that from experimentally exposed mice, suggest human exposures that are biologically relevant in both populations.
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Cites: Toxicol Lett. 2001 Aug 6;123(1):59-6711514106