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Effect of exposure to p,p'-DDE on male hormone profile in Mexican flower growers


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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