Associations among hypospadias, cryptorchidism, anogenital distance, and endocrine disruption

Scott Department of Urology, Texas Children's Hospital, Clinical Care Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Suite 660, 6621 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Current Urology Reports (Impact Factor: 1.51). 04/2008; 9(2):137-42. DOI: 10.1007/s11934-008-0025-0
Source: PubMed


Endocrine disruptors, such as environmental compounds with endocrine-altering properties, may cause hypospadias and cryptorchidism in several species, including humans. Anogenital distance is sexually dimorphic in many mammals, with males having longer anogenital distance on average than females. Animal models of proposed endocrine disruptors have associated prenatal exposure with hypospadias, cryptorchidism, and reduced anogenital distance. Human studies have correlated shorter anogenital distance to in utero exposure to putative endocrine disruptors. We review preliminary data suggesting that anogenital distance is reduced in boys with hypospadia and cryptorchidism. Hence, human hypospadias and cryptorchidism may be associated with reduced anogenital distance as a result of endocrine disruption.

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    • "Several recent studies suggest that short male AGD may have reproductive implications for humans as well as rodents. In males, children with hypospadias and cryptorchidism have significantly shorter AGD than controls (Hsieh et al., 2008, 2012; Thankamony et al., 2013). In male adults, shorter AGD predicts poorer semen quality (Eisenberg et al., 2011; Mendiola et al., 2011) and reduced testosterone and testicular volume (Eisenberg et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Is first trimester phthalate exposure associated with anogenital distance (AGD), a biomarker of prenatal androgen exposure, in newborns? Concentrations of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) metabolites in first trimester maternal urine samples are inversely associated with AGD in male, but not female, newborns. AGD is a sexually dimorphic measure reflecting prenatal androgen exposure. Prenatal phthalate exposure has been associated with shorter male AGD in multiple animal studies. Prior human studies, which have been limited by small sample size and imprecise timing of exposure and/or outcome, have reported conflicting results. The Infant Development and the Environment Study (TIDES) is a prospective cohort study of pregnant women recruited in prenatal clinics in San Francisco, CA, Minneapolis, MN, Rochester, NY and Seattle, WA in 2010-2012. Participants delivered 787 infants; 753 with complete data are included in this analysis. Any woman over 18 years old who was able to read and write English (or Spanish in CA), who was <13 weeks pregnant, whose pregnancy was not medically threatened and who planned to deliver in a study hospital was eligible to participate. Analyses include all infants whose mothers provided a first trimester urine sample and who were examined at or shortly after birth. Specific gravity (SpG) adjusted concentrations of phthalate metabolites in first trimester urine samples were examined in relation to genital measurements. In boys (N = 366), we obtained two measures of anogenital distance (AGD) (anoscrotal distance, or AGDAS and anopenile distance, AGDAP) as well as penile width (PW). In girls (N = 373), we measured anofourchette distance (AGDAF) and anoclitoral distance (AGDAC). We used multivariable regression models that adjusted for the infant's age at exam, gestational age, weight-for-length Z-score, time of day of urine collection, maternal age and study center. Three metabolites of DEHP were significantly and inversely associated with both measures of boys' AGD. Associations (β, 95% confidence interval (CI)) between AGDAS and (log10) SpG-adjusted phthalate concentrations were: -1.12 (-2.16, -0.07) for mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP), -1.43, (-2.49, -0.38) for mono-2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl phthalate (MEOHP), and -1.28 (-2.29, -0.27) for mono-2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl (MEHHP). Associations were of similar magnitude for AGDAP. Associations were weaker and not statistically significant for PW. No other phthalate metabolites were associated with any genital measurement in boys. No phthalate metabolites were associated with either AGD measure in girls. Exposure assessment was based on a single first trimester urine sample, which may have introduced exposure misclassification. In addition, significant between-center differences suggest that this measurement is difficult to standardize. Our findings are consistent with multiple rodent studies and most human studies which were far smaller. The data we report here suggest that even at current low levels, environmental exposure to DEHP can adversely affect male genital development resulting in reproductive tract changes that may impact reproductive health later in life. These findings have important implications for public policy since most pregnant women are exposed to this ubiquitous chemical. Funding for TIDES was provided by the following grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: R01ES016863-04 and R01 ES016863-02S4. The authors report no conflict of interest. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
    Human Reproduction 02/2015; 30(4). DOI:10.1093/humrep/deu363 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    • "P Ͻ 0.01) versus (vs.) the bottom of the penis (22.5%; P Ͻ 0.001; Hsieh et al. 2008). Taken together, these studies indicate that AGD is a surrogate marker of biologically important outcomes; however, study results may vary with the defi nition of AGD in any given investigation and the variability in methods limits inter-study comparisons. "
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    ABSTRACT: Phthalate diesters are a diverse group of chemicals used to make plastics flexible and are found in personal care products, medical equipment, and medication capsules. Ubiquitous in the environment, human exposure to phthalates is unavoidable; however, the clinical relevance of low concentrations in human tissues remains uncertain. The epidemiological literature was inadequate for prior reviews to conclusively evaluate the effects of phthalates on male reproductive tract development and function, but recent studies have expanded the literature. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of the literature focused on the effects of phthalate exposure on the developing male reproductive tract, puberty, semen quality, fertility, and reproductive hormones. We conclude that although the epidemiological evidence for an association between phthalate exposure and most adverse outcomes in the reproductive system, at concentrations to which general human populations are exposed, is minimal to weak, the evidence for effects on semen quality is moderate. Results of animal studies reveal that, although DEHP was the most potent, different phthalates have similar effects and can adversely affect development of the male reproductive tract with semen quality being the most sensitive outcome. We also note that developmental exposure in humans was within an order of magnitude of the adverse effects documented in several animal studies. While the mechanisms underlying phthalate toxicity remain unclear, the animal literature suggests that mice are less sensitive than rats and potentially more relevant to estimating effects in humans. Potential for chemical interactions and effects across generations highlights the need for continued study.
    Critical Reviews in Toxicology 07/2014; 44(6):467-498. DOI:10.3109/10408444.2013.875983 · 5.10 Impact Factor
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    • "AGD will be useful clinically as a noninvasive marker of androgen action during the critical masculinization programming window and will be predictive of adult-onset TDS.13 A recent study showed that AGD is reduced in boys with hypospadias or cryptorchidism.26 "
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    ABSTRACT: During the past few decades, scientific evidence has been accumulated concerning the possible adverse effects of the exposure to environmental chemicals on the well-being of wildlife and human populations. One large and growing group of such compounds of anthropogenic or natural origin is referred to as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), due to their deleterious action on the endocrine system. This concern was first focused on the control of reproductive function particularly in males, but has later been expanded to include all possible endocrine functions. The present review describes the underlying physiology behind the cascade of developmental events that occur during sexual differentiation of males and the specific role of androgen in the masculinization process and proper organogenesis of the external male genitalia. The impact of the genetic background, environmental exposures and lifestyle factors in the etiology of hypospadias, cryptorchidism and testicular cancer are reviewed and the possible role of EDCs in the development of these reproductive disorders is discussed critically. Finally, the possible direct and programming effects of exposures in utero to widely use therapeutic compounds, environmental estrogens and other chemicals on the incidence of reproductive abnormalities and poor semen quality in humans are also highlighted.
    Asian Journal of Andrology 01/2014; 16(1):50-9. DOI:10.4103/1008-682X.122199 · 2.60 Impact Factor
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