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Semen phthalate metabolites, semen quality parameters and serum reproductive hormones: A cross-sectional study in China



Semen phthalate metabolites, semen quality parameters and serum reproductive hormones: A cross-sectional study in China



Environmental Pollution 211: 173-182



Exposure to phthalates has been found to have adverse effects on male reproductive function in animals. However, the findings from human studies are inconsistent. Here we examined the associations of phthalate exposure with semen quality and reproductive hormones in a Chinese population using phthalate metabolite concentrations measured in semen as biomarkers. Semen (n = 687) and blood samples (n = 342) were collected from the male partners of sub-fertile couples who presented to the Reproductive Center of Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China. Semen quality parameters and serum reproductive hormone levels were determined. Semen concentrations of 8 phthalate metabolites were assessed using high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Associations of the semen phthalate metabolites with semen quality parameters and serum reproductive hormones were assessed using confounder-adjusted linear and logistic regression models. Semen phthalate metabolites were significantly associated with decreases in semen volume [mono-n-butyl phthalate (MBP), mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP), mono(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP)], sperm curvilinear velocity [monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), MEHP, the percentage of di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate metabolites excreted as MEHP (%MEHP)], and straight-line velocity (MBzP, MEHP, %MEHP), and also associated with an increased percentage of abnormal heads and tails (MBzP) (all p for trend <0.05). These associations remained suggestive or significant after adjustment for multiple testing. There were no significant associations between semen phthalate metabolites and serum reproductive hormones. Our findings suggest that environmental exposure to phthalates may impair human semen quality.

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Accession: 058826169

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PMID: 26766535

DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.12.052



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