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Prenatal exposure to persistent organic compounds and their association with anogenital distance in infants

Published:October 06, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2018.09.008

      Highlights

      • Most prenatal POPs levels had negative associations with boys’ AGD
      • PCB 170 was consistently and significantly associated to a decreased AGD in boys
      • The effect of PCB 170 was greater in mixtures than isolated
      • Prenatal exposure to PCB 170 may have an undermasculinizing effect in boys
      • No associations were seen between ADG and prenatal POPs levels in girls

      Abstract

      Research question

      What is the association between prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants, separately and combined, and anogenital distance (in-utero endocrine disruption marker).

      Design

      A cohort study conducted in Sonora, Mexico. Blood concentrations of polychlorobiphenyls (PCB) 28, 74, 118, 138/158, 153, 170, 180 and the isomers of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites were determined in women in the third trimester of pregnancy; three variants of anogenital distance were measured on five occasions during the first year of life of their infants: 82 girls (402 observations) and 74 boys (356 observations).

      Results

      Boys had negative and significant associations between anogenital distance/height and the concentrations of PCB 28 (beta = − 0.005;P = 0.006), PCB 74 (beta = − 0.003;P = 0.013), and PCB 170 (beta = − 0.005;P = 0.001) when analysed individually. Negative and significant associations were also found using statistical models applied to mixtures of compounds. The latter associations were sometimes larger in magnitude and significance, suggesting a possible potentiation of the compounds. No associations were observed between anogenital distance and DDT in either sex or with PCB in girls.

      Conclusions

      The decreased anogenital distance associated with prenatal exposure to the persistent organic pollutants, observed consistently in different analyses, suggests an under-masculinizing effect of these environmental pollutants in boys.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      Horacio Riojas-Rodríguez is Head of the Environmental Health Sciences Department of the National Institute of Public Health, Mexico. He has a degree in Medicine, a masters in Environmental Health Sciences and a doctorate in Epidemiology. His experience includes more than 20 years of research and 50 published scientific papers.
      Key message
      Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls 28, 74 and 170 was associated with a smaller anogenital distance adjusted by height in infant boys. These results are important in identifying specific environmental factors that contribute to an increasingly observed under-masculinization along with potential repercussions in the reproductive health throughout the lifetime.