Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Reproductive Health in Boys and Men
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Oct 7;12:706532. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.706532. eCollection 2021.
Male reproductive health has declined as indicated by increasing rates of cryptorchidism, i.e., undescended testis, poor semen quality, low serum testosterone level, and testicular cancer. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been proposed to have a role in this finding. In utero exposure to antiandrogenic EDCs, particularly at a sensitive period of fetal testicular development, the so-called ‘masculinization programming window (MPW)’, can disturb testicular development and function. Low androgen effect during the MPW can cause both short- and long-term reproductive disorders. A concurrent exposure to EDCs may also affect testicular function or damage testicular cells. Evidence from animal studies supports the role of endocrine disrupting chemicals in development of male reproductive disorders. However, evidence from epidemiological studies is relatively mixed. In this article, we review the current literature that evaluated relationship between prenatal EDC exposures and anogenital distance, cryptorchidism, and congenital penile abnormality called hypospadias. We review also studies on the association between early life and postnatal EDC exposure and semen quality, hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis hormone levels and testicular cancer.