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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