Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and the insecticide dichloro-diphenyl-dichloro-ethylene (DDT) have been released into the environment mainly since the second World War. POPs accumulate especially in highly ranked predators of the aquatic food chain. In Sweden, the major exposure route for POPs are through consumtion of fatty fish, such as salmon and herring, from the Baltic Sea.

During recent years there has been concern regarding a possible, time-related deterioration of human sperm quality. Many of the POPs in experimental studies have shown hormone-like activities, and prenatal animal exposure to PCB and DDT has shown a decrease in sperm quality and malformations. Human studies have shown that exposure to POPs has a negative effect on male reproductive function, and especially sperm motility seems vulnerable.

We aimed to investigate whether exposure to 2,2´,4,4´, 5,5´-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl) ethylene (p,p´-DDE) (biomarkers for POP) affects semen volume, sperm motilty, sperm concentration, sperm chromatin integrity (%DFI), Y:X sperm chromosome ratio, and epididymal and accessory sex gland functions. In the study 195 Swedish fishermen, aged 24-65 years were included. The men provided semen samples, and the basic analysis were performed in a mobile laboratory unit. Blood samples and information relating to lifestyle, medical and reproductive history were obtained.

The current study indicates that high exposure to POP could affect semen function. We found a statistically significant association between serum levels of CB-153 and % DFI, but not for p,p´-DDE.

The Y:X sperm chromosome ratio was higher among men with high serum levels of both CB-153 and p,p´-DDE. There was an association between sperm motility and CB-153 serum levels, although not statistically significant but still interersting due to similar results in other studies.

We found no associations between semen volume, sperm concentration and POP exposure levels; furthermore the biomarkers (prostate-specific antigen, zinc, fructose and neutral alpha-glucosidase) used for evaluation of the epididymal and accesssory gland functions were not associated with POP exposure levels.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University
  • Hagmar, Lars, Supervisor, External person
Award date2005 May 13
ISBN (Print)91-85439-26-6
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2005-05-13
Time: 09:15
Place: Föreläsningssal F1, Universitetssjukhuset Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Kold-Jensen, Tina
Title: Docent
Affiliation: Odense, Universitet


<div class="article_info">A Rignell-Hydbom, L Rylander, A Giwercman, BAG Jönsson, C Lindh, P Eleuteri, M Rescia, E Cordelli, M Spano and L Hagmar. <span class="article_issue_date">2005</span>. <span class="article_title">Exposure to PCB and p,p´- DDE and human sperm chromatin damage.</span> <span class="journal_series_title">Environmental Health Perspectives</span>, <span class="journal_volume">vol 113</span> <span class="journal_pages">pp 175-180</span>.</div>
<div class="article_info">T Tiido, A Rignell-Hydbom, BAG Jönsson, YL Giwercman, L Rylander, L Hagmar and A Giwercman. <span class="article_issue_date">2005</span>. <span class="article_title">Serum levels of p,p'-DDE and CB-153 in relation to human sperm Y:X chromosome ratio.</span> <span class="journal_series_title">Human Reproduction</span>, (inpress)</div>
<div class="article_info">A Rignell-Hydbom, L Rylander, S Elzanaty, A Giwercman, CH Lindh and L Hagmar. <span class="article_issue_date">2005</span>. <span class="article_title">Exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants and seminal markers of epididymal and accessory sex gland functions in Swedish men.</span> <span class="journal_series_title">Human Reproduction</span>, <span class="journal_volume">vol March</span> <span class="journal_pages">pp doi:10.1093/humrep/deh856</span>.</div>
<div class="article_info">A Rignell-Hydbom, L Rylander, A Giwercman, B Jönsson, P Nilsson-Ehle and L Hagmar. <span class="article_issue_date">2004</span>. <span class="article_title">Effect of dietary exposure to CB-153 and p,p´-DDE on reproductive function in Swedish fishermen.</span> <span class="journal_series_title">Human Reproduction.</span>, <span class="journal_volume">vol 19</span> <span class="journal_pages">pp 2066-75</span>.</div>

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Free keywords

  • Miljömedicin
  • Environmental health
  • epididymal and accessory sex gland function
  • Y:X sperm chromosome ratio
  • sperm chromation integrity
  • sperm concentration
  • sperm motility
  • persistent organochlorine poluutants


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