Because polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are thought to cause endocrine disruption, we examined 438 adolescent boys from a birth cohort in the Faroe Islands, where PCB exposures are elevated. We measured PCBs and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) in cord blood and in serum from clinical examination at age 14. Higher prenatal PCB exposure was associated with lower serum concentrations of both luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone. In addition, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) was positively associated with both prenatal and concurrent PCB exposures. The PCB-SHBG association was robust to covariate adjustment. In a structural equation model, a doubling in prenatal PCB exposure was associated with a decrease in LH of 6% (p=0.03). Prenatal exposure to PCB and DDE showed weak, non-significant inverse associations with testicular size and Tanner stage. DDE was highly correlated with PCB and showed slightly weaker associations with the hormone profile. These findings suggest that delayed puberty with low serum-LH concentrations associated with developmental exposure to non dioxin-like PCBs may be due to a central hypothalamo-pituitary mechanism.
Reproductive Toxicology, 2012, Vol 34, Issue 4, p. 498-503
Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural