Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) may affect male reproductive function. Many dioxin-like POPs exert their effects by activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) signalling pathway. We analysed whether gene-environment interactions between polymorphisms in AHR (R554K) and AHR repressor (AHRR P185A) and serum levels of markers of POP exposure 1,1-bis-(4-chlorophenyl)-2,2-dichloroethene (p,p'-DDE) and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) are associated with 21 parameters of male reproductive function in 581 proven-fertile European and Greenlandic men. In Greenlandic men, AHR variants significantly modified the association between serum levels of both p,p'-DDE and CB-153 and inhibin B levels, sperm chromatin integrity, and seminal zinc levels. In the total cohort, interactions between AHRR variants and serum levels of CB-153 were associated with sperm chromatin integrity and the expression of the pro-apoptotic marker protein Fas. The data indicate that susceptibility to adverse effects of POP exposure on male reproductive function is dependent on polymorphisms in genes involved in AHR signalling.
Reproductive Toxicology (elmsford, N.y.), 2014, Vol 49C, p. 65-73