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225 Exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and male reproductive function in arctic and european populations
  1. G T Toft1,
  2. Lenters2,
  3. Vermeulen2,
  4. Heederik2,
  5. Thomsen3,
  6. Becher3,
  7. Giwercman4,
  8. Bizzaro5,
  9. Manicardi6,
  10. Spanó7,
  11. Rylander8,
  12. Pedersen9,
  13. Strucinski10,
  14. Zviezdai11,
  15. Bonde12
  1. 1Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  2. 2Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Nederland
  3. 3Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  4. 4Reproductive Medicine Centre, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden
  5. 5Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy
  6. 6Department of Life Science, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  7. 7Unit of Radiation Biology and Human Health, ENEA Casacia, Rome, Italy
  8. 8Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  9. 9Centre for Arctic Environmental Medicine, Nuuk, Greenland
  10. 10Department of Toxicology and Risk Assessment, Warsaw, Poland
  11. 11Kharkiv National Medical University, Kharkiv, Ukraine
  12. 12Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark


Background Animal and a few human studies suggest that polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) may affect male reproductive function. The aim of the present study was to evaluate if male reproductive function was associated with serum levels of PBDEs.

Methods We evaluated the effects of environmental exposure to BDE-28, BDE-47 and BDE-153 on reproductive hormones and semen quality, including markers of DNA damage and apoptosis, in 299 men from Greenland, Poland and Ukraine.

Results Adjusted linear regression models indicated that sperm DNA damage measured by the TUNEL assay increased by 0.22%, confidence interval (CI) 0.03% to 0.42% for each percentage increase in lipid adjusted BDE-47 concentration, and semen volume decreased by 0.11% (0.01% to 0.19%) for each percentage increase in BDE-28 exposure.

Conclusions Adverse effects of PBDE exposure on semen volume and sperm DNA damage were observed but other conventional semen parameters and reproductive hormones were not affected. Harmful effects of PBDE exposure on sperm DNA damage is supported by experimental evidence based on other cell types.

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