Research Article Advance Publication
Perfluorochemicals and Human Semen Quality: The LIFE Study
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Citation: Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Schisterman EF, Kim S, Sweeney AM, Sundaram R, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Barr DB. Perfluorochemicals and Human Semen Quality: The LIFE Study. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307621.
Received: 9 September 2013
Accepted: 12 August 2014
Advance Publication: 15 August 2014
Background: The relation between persistent environmental chemicals and semen quality is evolving, though limited data exist for men recruited from general populations.
Objectives: To assess the relation between perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) and semen quality among 501 male partners of couples planning pregnancy.
Methods: Utilizing population-based sampling strategies, we recruited 501 couples discontinuing contraception from two U.S. geographic regions from 2005-2009. Baseline interviews and anthropometric assessments were conducted followed by blood collection for the quantification of 7 serum PFCs (perfluorosulfonates, perfluorocarboxylates and perfluorosulfonamides) using tandem mass spectrometry. Men collected a baseline semen sample and another approximately a month later. Semen samples were shipped with freezer packs, and analyses were performed on the day after collection. We used linear regression to estimate the difference in each semen parameter associated with a one unit increase in the natural log transformed PFC concentration after adjusting for confounders and modeling repeated semen samples. Sensitivity analyses included optimal Box-Cox transformation of semen quality endpoints.
Results: Six PFCs (2-N-methyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamide acetate [Me-PFOSA-AcOH], perfluorodecanoate [PFDeA], perfluorononanoate [PFNA], perfluorooctane sulfonamide [PFOSA], perfluorooctane sulfonate [PFOS], and perfluorooctanoate [PFOA]) were associated with 17 semen quality endpoints before Box Cox transformation. PFOSA was associated with smaller sperm head area and perimeter, lower percentage of DNA stainability, and a higher percentage of bicephalic and immature sperm. PFDeA, PFNA, PFOA, and PFOS were associated with a lower percentage of sperm with coiled tails.
Conclusions: Select PFCs were associated with certain semen endpoints, with the most significant associations observed for PFOSA though with results in varying directions.
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