- PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Certain organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are designated as persistent organic pollutants and are regulated in many countries. The effects of OCPs on pediatric endocrinology are a concern; however, only limited data exist from human studies on maternal OCP exposure and its effects on infants' hormone levels. This study was conducted as part of the Hokkaido Study Sapporo Cohort, a prospective birth cohort study in Japan. Participants included 514 women who enrolled at 23-35 weeks of gestation between 2002 and 2005; maternal blood samples were collected in late pregnancy, and 29 OCPs were measured. Reproductive and steroid hormone levels in cord blood were also determined. Characteristics of mothers and their infants were obtained from self-administered questionnaires and medical records. Ultimately, 232 samples with both OCP and hormone data were analyzed. Fifteen of 29 investigated OCPs were detected in over 80% of the samples, with p, p'-dichlorodiphenyldi-chloroethylene showing the highest concentration (median value: 619 pg/g-wet). The association between OCPs and sex hormone levels varied by sex. Linear regression models after sex stratification showed that chlordanes, cis-hexachlorobenzene, heptachlor epoxide, Mirex, and toxaphenes in maternal blood were inversely associated with testosterone, cortisol, cortisone, sex hormone-binding globin, prolactin, and androstenedione-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone-androstenediones ratios among boys. Furthermore, these OCPs were positively correlated with DHEA, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and adrenal androgen-glucocorticoid and FSH-inhibin B ratios among boys. In categorical quartile models, testosterone and DHEA were inversely and positively associated with OCPs, respectively. Estradiol-testosterone and adrenal androgen-glucocorticoid ratios tended to increase with increasing OCP concentrations in the higher quartile, while the testosterone-androstenedione ratio tended to decrease. Sex hormone-binding globulin and prolactin showed an inverse association with OCPs. Among girls, the linear regression model showed that only p, p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane was inversely associated with the level of DHEA and the adrenal androgen-glucocorticoid ratio, but was positively associated with cortisone levels. However, no associations were observed using the quartile categorical model. These results suggest that prenatal exposure to OCPs disrupt reproductive hormones of fetuses in utero among boys, even at relatively low levels.
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