Erik Ernst

Prenatal exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants and female reproductive function in young adulthood

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Susanne Lund Kristensen
  • ,
  • Cecilia Høst Ramlau-Hansen
  • Erik Ernst
  • Sjurdur Frodi Olsen, Centre for Fetal Programming, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • ,
  • Jens Peter Bonde, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital of Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • ,
  • Anne Vested
  • Thorhallur Ingi Halldorsson, Centre for Fetal Programming, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark, Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • ,
  • Panu Rantakokko, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Environmental Health, Chemical Exposure Unit, Kuopio
  • ,
  • Hannu Kiviranta, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Environmental Health, Chemical Exposure Unit, Kuopio
  • ,
  • Gunnar Toft

BACKGROUND: The biopersistent organochlorine pollutants dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE), hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can be detected in humans worldwide. The chemicals can cross the placenta and may interfere with endogenous hormonal homeostasis.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate effects on female reproduction following intrauterine exposure to selected biopersistent organochlorines.

METHODS: We used data from a Danish pregnancy cohort with follow-up on 436 eligible daughters at approximately 20years of age. Information on age of menarche (n=335), menstrual cycle length (n=230) and serum concentrations of reproductive hormones (n=243) was obtained. Number of antral follicles was counted by vaginal ultrasound (n=147). Of 244 daughters who attended clinical examination, 170 used hormonal contraceptives and 74 were non-users. Concentrations of p,p'-DDE, HCB and six PCB congeners were analysed in maternal serum samples obtained in pregnancy week 30.

RESULTS: Age of menarche and menstrual cycle length were found not to be statistically significant associated with prenatal organochlorine exposure. Among non-users of hormonal contraceptives with information on antral follicle number (n=43), daughters exposed to the highest tertile of p,p'-DDE had 28% (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 5; 46%) lower follicle number compared to the low-level exposed reference group. Those exposed to medium and higher levels of HCB had 30% (95% CI: 5; 48%) and 28% (95% CI: 7; 44%) lower follicle number compared to the reference group. Furthermore, maternal serum HCB concentrations were inversely associated with free androgen index among non-users of hormonal contraceptives (n=73). These associations were not found in users of hormonal contraceptives.

CONCLUSIONS: Among non-users of hormonal contraceptives, we found indications of adverse long-term effects on female reproduction following prenatal exposure to biopersistent organochlorines. These findings may have wide implications for public health as intrauterine exposure occurs worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment International
Volume92-93
Pages (from-to)366-72
Number of pages7
ISSN0160-4120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2016

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