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Effect of exposure to p,p'-DDE on male hormone profile in Mexican flower growers
  1. Julia Blanco-Muñoz1,
  2. Marina Lacasaña2,3,
  3. Clemente Aguilar-Garduño2,
  4. Miguel Rodríguez-Barranco2,
  5. Susana Bassol4,
  6. Mariano E Cebrián5,
  7. Inmaculada López-Flores2,3,
  8. Isabel Ruiz-Pérez2,3
  1. 1Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública de México (INSP) (National Institute of Public Health of Mexico), Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
  2. 2Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública (EASP) (Andalusian School of Public Health), Campus Universitario de la Cartuja, Granada, Spain
  3. 3CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP) (CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health), Spain
  4. 4Facultad de Medicina de Torreón, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila (School of Medicine of Torreón, Autonomous University of Coahuila), Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico
  5. 5Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV), Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) (Center for Advanced Studies and Research of the National Polytechnic Institute), México DF, Mexico
  1. Correspondence to Marina Lacasaña Navarro, Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública (EASP) (Andalusian School of Public Health), Campus Universitario de la Cartuja, c/Cuesta del Observatorio 4, CP 18180 Granada, Spain; marina.lacasana.easp{at}


Objectives p,p'-Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p'-DDE) acts as an androgen receptor antagonist, however data regarding its hormonal effects in men are limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between serum levels of p,p'-DDE and reproductive hormone profile in Mexican male flower growers.

Methods A longitudinal study was carried out in a population of men working in the production of flowers and ornamental plants in two Mexican states during July–October 2004 (rainy season) and December 2004–May 2005 (dry season). A questionnaire including information on socioeconomic characteristics, tobacco and alcohol use, presence of chronic and acute diseases, occupational history and anthropometry was used and blood and urine samples were obtained. Serum levels of p,p'-DDE were analysed by gas chromatography; FSH, LH, testosterone, oestradiol, inhibin B and prolactin levels were measured by enzymatic immunoassay. Urinary levels of dialkylphosphates (DAPs) were analysed by gas chromatography. Associations between serum levels of p,p'-DDE and male reproductive hormones (both transformed to their natural logarithm) were evaluated using multivariate generalised estimating equation (GEE) models.

Results Median p,p'-DDE levels were 677.2 ng/g lipid (range 9.4–12 696.5) during the rainy season and 626.7 ng/g lipid (range 9.4–13 668.1) during the dry season. After adjusting for potential confounders (age, body mass index, state of residence and DAPs), p,p'-DDE levels were negatively associated with prolactin (β=−0.04; 95% CI −0.07 to −0.008) and testosterone (β=0.04; 95% CI −0.08 to 0.005) and positively with inhibin B (β=0.11; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.21).

Conclusion These results indicate that p,p'-DDE can affect hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis function in humans.

  • p,p' DDE
  • male hormonal profile
  • flower growers
  • Mexico
  • epidemiology
  • endocrine disorders
  • male reproduction
  • organochlorides
  • pesticides

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  • Funding This study was supported by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología of Mexico CONACYT (National Council of Science and Technology), project number SALUD-2002-C01-7574 and by the Fondo Sectorial de Investigación para la Educación SEP-CONACYT, project number 49793.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (National Institute of Public Health), Mexico.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.