[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Study question:
Does semen quality improve during early adulthood?
Semen variables change little during the third decade of life, however some improvement in sperm morphology and motility may occur.
What is known already:
A suspicion of deteriorating semen quality has been raised in several studies. The longitudinal development of semen quality in early adulthood is insufficiently understood.
Study design, size, duration:
A longitudinal follow-up of two cohorts of volunteer young adult Finnish men representing the general population was carried out. Cohorts A (discovery cohort, born 1979-1981, n = 336) and B (validation cohort, born 1983, n = 197) were followed up from the age of 19 years onward for 10 years.
Participants/materials, setting, methods:
Inclusion criteria included that both the men and their mothers were born in Finland. Semen analysis was performed in cohorts A and B at 2-4 year intervals over a period of 10 years. Semen volume, sperm concentration, total sperm count, motility, total motile count and morphology were the variables assessed in the analysis. A physical examination was carried out at each visit to detect any significant andrological abnormalities. The overall participation rate was 13.4%.
Main results and the role of chance:
During the follow-up, the percentage of sperm with normal morphology and the percentage of motile sperm increased significantly both in the discovery (A) (P < 0.001 at 19 versus 29 years for both) and validation (B) (P < 0.001 and P = 0.03 at 19 versus 29 years, respectively) cohort. Sperm concentration and total sperm count showed a significant increase with age only in cohort B (P = 0.03 at 21 versus 29 years, P = 0.009 at 19 versus 29 years, respectively).
Limitations, reasons for caution:
A limited number of men participated both in the first round and in the final fourth round (cohort A, n = 111 and cohort B, n = 90 men) and in all four rounds (cohort A, n = 61 and cohort B, n = 52).
Wider implications of the findings:
Almost full spermatogenic capacity is reached by the age of 19 years. However, the improvement in sperm motility and morphology during early adulthood may slightly improve male fecundity.
Study funding/competing interests:
This study was supported by the European Commission (QLK4-CT-1999-01422, QLK4-CT-2001-00269, QLK4-2002-0063, FP7/2008-2012: DEER 212844), The Danish Medical Research Council (9700833, 9700909), Danish Agency for Science (Technology and Innovation 09-067180), the Svend Andersen's Foundation, Velux Foundation, and Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Turku University Hospital, Sigrid Jusélius Foundation and the Academy of Finland. There are no conflicts of interest.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Human Reproduction
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context:
The role of vitamin D in the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D) remains controversial.
To study whether there are detectable differences in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentrations between children who later progressed to T1D (cases) and matched children who remained non-diabetic and negative for islet autoantibodies (controls) when followed from birth until disease onset.
A total of 3702 prospective serum samples from 252 children were measured for 25(OH)D from the age of 3 months onwards using an enzyme immunoassay. Differences between the groups were compared by mixed model analysis of variance.
Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention study (DIPP) clinics in Turku, Oulu and Tampere University Hospitals, Finland.
By the end of 2012 all 126 case children were diagnosed with T1D. The control children (N=126) were matched for age, sex, study site and HLA-DQ-conferred risk for T1D.
Main outcome measure:
Median circulating 25(OH)D concentration (nmol/L).
The patterns of variation in circulating 25(OH)D concentrations were similar between cases and controls and did not correlate with the age at seroconversion to autoantibody positivity (P= 0.79) or disease onset (P= 0.13). The median concentration of all collected samples did not differ between case and control children (66.6 nmol/L [range 14.0-262.8] vs. 67.4 nmol/L [range 19.9-213.0]), (P= 0.56).
This study shows that serum 25(OH)D concentrations are not associated with the development of T1D in Finland.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
We aimed to characterize insulin responses to i.v. glucose during the preclinical period of type 1 diabetes starting from the emergence of islet autoimmunity.
Design and methods:
A large population-based cohort of children with HLA-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes was observed from birth. During regular follow-up visits islet autoantibodies were analysed. We compared markers of glucose metabolism in sequential intravenous glucose tolerance tests between 210 children who were positive for multiple (≥2) islet autoantibodies and progressed to type 1 diabetes (progressors) and 192 children testing positive for classical islet-cell antibodies only and remained healthy (non-progressors).
In the progressors, the first phase insulin response (FPIR) was decreased as early as 4-6 years before the diagnosis when compared to the non-progressors (P=0.001). The difference in FPIR between the progressors and non-progressors was significant (P<0.001) in all age groups, increasing with age (at 2 years: difference 50% (95% CI 28-75%) and at 10 years: difference 172% (95% CI 128-224%)). The area under the 10-min insulin curve showed a similar difference between the groups (P<0.001; at 2 years: difference 36% (95% CI 17-58%) and at 10 years: difference 186% (95% CI 143-237%)). Insulin sensitivity did not differ between the groups.
FPIR is decreased several years before the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, implying an intrinsic defect in β-cell mass and/or function.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · European Journal of Endocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is predicted that Japan and European Union will soon experience appreciable decreases in their populations due to persistently low total fertility rates (TFR) below replacement level (2.1 child per woman). In the United States, where TFR has also declined, there are ethnic differences. Caucasians have rates below replacement, while TFRs among African-Americans and Hispanics are higher. We review possible links between TFR and trends in a range of male reproductive problems, including testicular cancer, disorders of sex development, cryptorchidism, hypospadias, low testosterone levels, poor semen quality, childlessness, changed sex ratio, and increasing demand for assisted reproductive techniques. We present evidence that several adult male reproductive problems arise in utero and are signs of testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS). Although TDS might result from genetic mutations, recent evidence suggests that it most often is related to environmental exposures of the fetal testis. However, environmental factors can also affect the adult endocrine system. Based on our review of genetic and environmental factors, we conclude that environmental exposures arising from modern lifestyle, rather than genetics, are the most important factors in the observed trends. These environmental factors might act either directly or via epigenetic mechanisms. In the latter case, the effects of exposures might have an impact for several generations post-exposure. In conclusion, there is an urgent need to prioritize research in reproductive physiology and pathophysiology, particularly in highly industrialized countries facing decreasing populations. We highlight a number of topics that need attention by researchers in human physiology, pathophysiology, environmental health sciences, and demography.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Physiological Reviews
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance:
Probiotics have been hypothesized to affect immunologic responses to environmental exposures by supporting healthy gut microbiota and could therefore theoretically be used to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM)-associated islet autoimmunity.
To examine the association between supplemental probiotic use during the first year of life and islet autoimmunity among children at increased genetic risk of T1DM.
Design, setting, and participants:
In this ongoing prospective cohort study that started September 1, 2004, children from 6 clinical centers, 3 in the United States (Colorado, Georgia/Florida, and Washington) and 3 in Europe (Finland, Germany, and Sweden), were followed up for T1DM-related autoantibodies. Blood samples were collected every 3 months between 3 and 48 months of age and every 6 months thereafter to determine persistent islet autoimmunity. Details of infant feeding, including probiotic supplementation and infant formula use, were monitored from birth using questionnaires and diaries. We applied time-to-event analysis to study the association between probiotic use and islet autoimmunity, stratifying by country and adjusting for family history of type 1 diabetes, HLA-DR-DQ genotypes, sex, birth order, mode of delivery, exclusive breastfeeding, birth year, child's antibiotic use, and diarrheal history, as well as maternal age, probiotic use, and smoking. Altogether 8676 infants with an eligible genotype were enrolled in the follow-up study before the age of 4 months. The final sample consisted of 7473 children with the age range of 4 to 10 years (as of October 31, 2014).
Early intake of probiotics.
Main outcomes and measures:
Islet autoimmunity revealed by specific islet autoantibodies.
Early probiotic supplementation (at the age of 0-27 days) was associated with a decreased risk of islet autoimmunity when compared with probiotic supplementation after 27 days or no probiotic supplementation (hazard ratio [HR], 0.66; 95% CI, 0.46-0.94). The association was accounted for by children with the DR3/4 genotype (HR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.21-0.74) and was absent among other genotypes (HR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.62-1.54).
Conclusions and relevance:
Early probiotic supplementation may reduce the risk of islet autoimmunity in children at the highest genetic risk of T1DM. The result needs to be confirmed in further studies before any recommendation of probiotics use is made.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endonuclease DICER that processes microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) is essential for normal spermatogenesis and male fertility. We previously showed that the deletion of Dicer1 gene in postnatal spermatogonia in mice using Ngn3 promoter-driven Cre expression caused severe defects in the morphogenesis of haploid spermatid to mature spermatozoon, including problems in cell polarization and nuclear elongation. In this study, we further analyzed the same mouse model and revealed that absence of functional DICER in differentiating male germ cells induces disorganization of the cell-cell junctions in the seminiferous epithelium. We detected discontinuous and irregular apical ectoplasmic specializations between elongating spermatids and Sertoli cells. The defective anchoring of spermatids to Sertoli cells caused a premature release of spermatids into the lumen. Our findings may help also explain the abnormal elongation process of remaining spermatids because these junctions and the correct positioning of germ cells in the epithelium are critically important for the progression of spermiogenesis. Interestingly, cell adhesion-related genes were generally upregulated in Dicer1 knockout germ cells. Claudin5 (Cldn5) was among the most upregulated genes and we show that the polarized localization of CLAUDIN5 in the apical ectoplasmic specializations was lost in Dicer1 knockout spermatids. Our results suggest that DICER-dependent pathways control the formation and organization of cell-cell junctions in the seminiferous epithelium via the regulation of cell adhesion-related genes.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Biology of Reproduction
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human bocaviruses (HBoVs) 1–4 are recently discovered, antigenically similar parvoviruses. We examined the hypothesis that the antigenic similarity of these viruses could give rise to clinically and diagnostically important immunological interactions. IgG and IgM EIAs as well as qPCR were used to study ~2000 sera collected from infancy to early adolescence at 3–6-month intervals from 109 children whose symptoms were recorded. We found that HBoV1-4-specific seroprevalences at age 6 years were 80%, 48%, 10%, and 0%, respectively. HBoV1 infections resulted in significantly weaker IgG responses among children who had pre-existing HBoV2 IgG, and vice versa. Furthermore, we documented a complete absence of virus type-specific immune responses in six viremic children who had pre-existing IgG for another bocavirus, indicating that not all HBoV infections can be diagnosed serologically. Our results strongly indicate that interactions between consecutive HBoV infections affect HBoV immunity via a phenomenon called “original antigenic sin”, cross-protection, or both; however, without evident clinical consequences but with important ramifications for the serodiagnosis of HBoV infections. Serological data is likely to underestimate human exposure to these viruses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This Executive Summary to the Endocrine Society's second Scientific Statement on environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) provides a synthesis of the key points of the complete statement. The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information. The Statement also included thorough coverage of studies of developmental exposures to EDCs, especially in the fetus and infant, because these are critical life stages during which perturbations of hormones can increase the probability of a disease or dysfunction later in life. A conclusion of the Statement is that publications over the past 5 years have led to a much fuller understanding of the endocrine principles by which EDCs act, including nonmonotonic dose-responses, low-dose effects, and developmental vulnerability. These findings will prove useful to researchers, physicians, and other healthcare providers in translating the science of endocrine disruption to improved public health.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Congenital cryptorchidism, i.e. failure of the testicular descent to the bottom of the scrotum, is a common birth defect. The evidence from epidemiological, wildlife, and animal studies suggests that exposure to mixtures of endocrine disrupting chemicals during fetal development may play a role in its pathogenesis. We aimed to assess the association between cryptorchidism and prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
We conducted a case-control study consisting of 44 cryptorchid cases, and 38 controls operated for inguinal hernia, umbilical hernia, or hydrocele at the Turku University Hospital or Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen in 2002-2006. During the operation a subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsy was taken. Samples were analysed for 37 PCBs, 17 PCDD/Fs and 14 PBDEs by gas chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. Chemical concentrations were adjusted for postnatal variation introduced by differences in duration of breastfeeding, age at the operation, and country of origin with a multiple linear regression. Association between adjusted and unadjusted chemical concentrations and the risk of cryptorchidism were analysed with logistic regression to get an estimate for odds ratio (OR) of cryptorchidism per multiplication of chemical concentrations with ca. 2.71 (Napier's constant).
Total-TEq i.e. the WHO-recommended 2,3,7,8-TCDD equivalent quantity of 17 dioxins and 12 dioxin-like PCBs and sum of PCDD/Fs were positively associated with cryptorchidism [OR 3.21 (95 % CI 1.29-9.09), OR 3.69 (95 % CI 1.45-10.9), respectively], when adjusting for country of origin, the duration the child was breastfed, and age at operation. The association between the sum of PCBs and cryptorchidism was close to significant [OR 1.92 (95 % CI 0.98-4.01)], whereas the association between the sum of PBDEs and cryptorchidism was not [OR 0.86 (95 % CI 0.47-1.54)]. There were no associations between unadjusted chemical concentrations and the risk of cryptorchidism.
Prenatal exposure to PCDD/Fs and PCDD/F-like PCBs may be associated with increased risk for cryptorchidism. Our finding does not exclude the possibility of an association between the exposure to PBDEs and cryptorchidism.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Environmental Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viral infections have long been considered potential triggers of beta cell autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes. Recent studies have suggested that influenza A virus might increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. The present study evaluates this risk association in prospectively observed children at the time when islet autoimmunity starts and autoantibodies are first detected.
IgG class antibodies to influenza A virus were analysed in 95 case children whose antibody screening test turned permanently positive for two or more islet autoantibodies and from 186 autoantibody-negative and non-diabetic control children who were matched for time of birth, sex, date of sampling and HLA-conferred risk of diabetes in the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) study. Virus antibodies were measured from the first autoantibody-positive sample using an enzyme immunoassay. None of the children had been vaccinated against influenza A.
The prevalence of influenza A virus antibodies did not differ between the case and control children (42% vs 38%; p = 0.392) and the median antibody levels were also comparable in the two groups (3.0 vs 3.8 enzyme immunoassay units). A similar result was obtained when case and control children were compared separately in subgroups according to different sex, age and HLA-DQ genotype. However, girls had higher antibody levels than boys among both case and control children (median antibody levels 9.0 vs 2.3 enzyme immunoassay units; p = 0.01).
Our results suggest that influenza A infections are not associated with the development of islet autoimmunity in young children with increased genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) paradigm is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of biomedical research. Environmental stressors that can impact on DOHaD encompass a variety of environmental and occupational hazards as well as deficiency and oversupply of nutrients and energy. They can disrupt early developmental processes and lead to increased susceptibility to disease/dysfunctions later in life. Presentations at the fourth Conference on Prenatal Programming and Toxicity in Boston, in October 2014, provided important insights and led to new recommendations for research and public health action. The conference highlighted vulnerable exposure windows that can occur as early as the preconception period and epigenetics as a major mechanism than can lead to disadvantageous "reprogramming" of the genome, thereby potentially resulting in transgenerational effects. Stem cells can also be targets of environmental stressors, thus paving another way for effects that may last a lifetime. Current testing paradigms do not allow proper characterization of risk factors and their interactions. Thus, relevant exposure levels and combinations for testing must be identified from human exposure situations and outcome assessments. Testing of potential underpinning mechanisms and biomarker development require laboratory animal models and in vitro approaches. Only few large-scale birth cohorts exist, and collaboration between birth cohorts on a global scale should be facilitated. DOHaD-based research has a crucial role in establishing factors leading to detrimental outcomes and developing early preventative/remediation strategies to combat these risks.