Spermatogenic capacity in fertile men with elevated exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls

Maria Skaalum Petersen, Jónrit Hailing, Pál Weihe, Tina Kold Jensen, Philippe Grandjean, Flemming Nielsen, Niels Jorgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Endocrine disrupting industrial chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are suspected to adversely affect male reproductive functions. Objectives: The Faroe Islands community exhibits an unusually wide range of exposures to dietary contaminants, and in this setting we examined the possible association between PCB exposure and semen quality and reproductive hormones in fertile Faroese men. Methods: Participants in this cross-sectional study include 266 proven fertile men residing in the Faroe Islands. PCB levels and hormone profiles were measured in serum samples taken at the clinical examination that included semen quality parameters. Results: A significant positive association was seen between serum-PCB and the testosterone/estradiol ratio (p=0.04). In the unadjusted analyses, elevated PCB exposure was associated with increased serum concentrations of SHBG (p=0.01) and FSH (p=0.05). We found no association between the serum PCB concentration and the semen quality variables. Conclusion: In this population of highly exposed fertile men, the current serum-PCB concentration was associated with higher androgen/estrogen ratio. Further studies are needed to establish the findings and further document PCB-associated hormonal effects, any time windows of increased susceptibility, and the role of PCB in sub-fecundity. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • semen quality
  • reproductive hormones
  • exposure
  • PCB
  • fertile men
  • Faroe Islands
  • reproductive hormone-levels
  • regional differences
  • serum-levels
  • PCBS
  • population
  • AROCLOR-1254
  • pollutants
  • parameters
  • estrogen


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