BackgroundAnimal studies have shown the reproductive toxicity of a number of heavy metals. Very few human observational studies have analyzed the relationship between male reproductive function and heavy metal concentrations in diverse biological fluids.MethodsThe current study assessed the associations between seminal and hormonal parameters and the concentration of the 3 most frequent heavy metal toxicants (lead, cadmium and mercury) in three different body fluids. Sixty one men attending infertility clinics that participated in a case-control study to explore the role of environmental toxins and lifestyles on male infertility were analyzed. Concentration of lead, cadmium and mercury were measured in blood and seminal plasma and whole blood using anodic stripping voltammetry and atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Serum samples were analyzed for follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and testosterone. Semen analyses were performed according to World Health Organization criteria. Mann-Whitney test and Spearman's rank correlations were used for unadjusted analyses. Multiple linear regression models were performed controlling for age, body mass index and number of cigarettes per day.ResultsThere were no significant differences between cases and controls in the concentrations of heavy metals in any of the three body fluids. In multivariate analyses using all subjects no significant associations were found between serum hormone levels and metal concentrations. However there was a significant positive association between the percentage of immotile sperms and seminal plasma levels of lead and cadmium.ConclusionsOur results suggest that the presence of lead and cadmium in the reproductive tract of men may be related to a moderate alteration of their seminal parameters.
BackgroundIn animals, anogenital distance (AGD) at birth reflects androgen levels during pregnancy and predicts adult AGD. Little is known about AGD in relation to female reproductive characteristics in humans, a question this study was designed to explore.MethodsWe used multiple linear and logistic regression analyses to model the relationships between adult female reproductive system characteristics (e.g. ovarian morphology, menstrual cycle) and two measures of AGD [anus-fourchette (AGDAF) and anus-clitoris (AGDAC)] in 100 college-age volunteers in Spain. Ovarian morphology was classified as having < 6 or ≥ 6 follicles per ovary.ResultsBoth AGD measures were positively associated with ovarian follicle number, with AGDAF being more strongly associated. Women in the upper tertile of the AGDAF and AGDAC distributions were more likely to have ≥ 6 ovarian follicles [OR: 6.0 (95% CI 2.0, 17.6) and 3.0 (95% CI 1.1, 8.6), respectively] compared to women in the lowest tertile.ConclusionsIncreased follicular recruitment has been related to excess androgen exposure in utero in toxicological studies. Our results suggest that the androgenic environment during early fetal life may influence reproductive system development, including AGD, in human females.
This study was carried out on healthy and young men, so it is difficult to predict whether and how the observed differences in semen quality translate into reproductive success for men in couples trying to conceive. These results suggest that traditional Mediterranean diets may have a positive impact on male reproductive potential.
Several studies have investigated temporal trends in semen quality in Northern Europe, but none has examined this question in Southern Europe. A prior study conducted in Almeria Province (Southern Spain) reported higher sperm count and concentration among Spanish young men recruited from 2001 to 2002 compared with young men from Northern Europe. The aim of this new study was to examine whether semen quality has changed among Spanish young men in the last decade. In this cross-sectional study, questionnaires and semen samples were collected from 215 healthy young university students from Murcia Region between 2010 and 2011. The 273 men from the Almeria study previously studied were included in a trend analysis of the two populations from Southern Spain. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the Murcia study population and these and semen variables for the Murcia and Almeria study populations were compared. Study methods and population characteristics were similar across the two studies. Therefore, we used multiple linear regression analyses on the combined population (controlling for study centre, age, ejaculation abstinence time, season, smoking, medication during the last 3 months, Body mass index (BMI), presence of varicocoele and prenatal exposure to tobacco) to look for a birth-cohort effect over the combined study period (2001-2011). Sperm concentration and total sperm count declined significantly with year of birth in the pooled analysis (β = -0.04 and β = -0.06, respectively, both p < 0.01). Sperm counts were significantly lower in Murcia study subjects than in the Almeria participants; sperm concentration median (5th-95th) = 44.0 (8.9-129) million/mL vs. 51.0 (5.0-206) million/mL; p < 0.01 and total sperm count = 121 (17.8-400) million vs. 149 (8.0-599) million; p < 0.01. Other semen variables did not differ significantly between the two studies. Our study suggests that total sperm count and sperm concentration may have declined in young Spanish men over the last decade.
Objective Animal models have suggested that anogenital distance (AGD) at birth reflects androgen levels during in utero development and predicts adult AGD. A recent study showed an association between perineal length and androgen levels in men, suggesting that serum testosterone levels in adulthood will depend on factors involved during the fetal period. The aim of this study is to assess the relationship between AGD measures and reproductive hormone levels in women.Design Cross-sectional study conducted between February and November 2011.Setting University-affiliated fertility clinics.Population 100 young college students.Methods Physical and gynaecological examinations were conducted on university students. All participants provided a blood sample for determination of reproductive hormones and completed an epidemiological questionnaire on lifestyles and gynaecological history. We used multiple linear regression analysis to examine the associations between perineal length measurements [anus-fourchette (AGD AF ) and anus-clitoris (AGD AC )] and reproductive hormone levels.Main outcome measures Anogenital distance measurements and reproductive hormone levels.Results In the multiple linear regression analyses, AGD AF was positively associated with serum testosterone levels. Serum testosterone increased 0.06 ng/ml (95%CI 0.01, 0.10; P = 0.02) for each 1-cm increase in AGD AF . None of the measurements was associated with other reproductive hormones.Conclusions Anogenital distance may predict normal reproductive development in women, and may be a new tool of potential clinical interest to evaluate ovarian function. Our results suggest that serum testosterone levels in adulthood may depend on factors operating in the prenatal period.Keywords Androgens, anogenital distance, prenatal exposure, women.Please cite this paper as: Mira-Escolano MP, Mendiola J, M ınguez-Alarc on L, Melgarejo M, Cutillas-Tol ın A, Roca M, L opez-Esp ın JJ, Noguera-Velasco JA, Torres-Cantero AM. Longer anogenital distance is associated with higher testosterone levels in women: a cross-sectional study.
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