Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Concentrations in Amniotic Fluid, Biomarkers of Fetal Leydig Cell Function, and Cryptorchidism and Hypospadias in Danish Boys (1980-1996)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) may potentially disturb fetal Leydig cell hormone production and male genital development. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to study the associations between levels of amniotic fluid PFOS, fetal steroid hormone, and insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3) and the prevalence of cryptorchidism and hypospadias. METHODS: Using the Danish National Patient Registry, we selected 270 cryptorchidism cases, 75 hypospadias cases, and 300 controls with stored maternal amniotic fluid samples available in a Danish pregnancy-screening biobank (1980-1996). We used mass spectrometry to measure PFOS in amniotic fluid from 645 persons and steroid hormones in samples from 545 persons. INSL3 was measured by immunoassay from 475 persons. Associations between PFOS concentration in amniotic fluid, hormone levels, and genital malformations were assessed by confounder-adjusted linear and logistic regression. RESULTS: The highest tertile of PFOS exposure (> 1.4 ng/mL) in amniotic fluid was associated with a 40% (95% CI: -69, -11%) lower INSL3 level and an 18% (95% CI: 7, 29%) higher testosterone level compared with the lowest tertile (< 0.8 ng/mL). Amniotic fluid PFOS concentration was not associated with cryptorchidism or hypospadias. CONCLUSIONS: Environmental PFOS exposure was associated with steroid hormone and INSL3 concentrations in amniotic fluid, but was not associated with cryptorchidism or hypospadias in our study population. Additional studies are needed to determine whether associations with fetal hormone levels may have long-term implications for reproductive health.


  • Gunnar Toft
  • Bo A Jönsson
  • Jens Peter Bonde
  • Bent Norgaard-Pedersen
  • David M. Hougaard
  • Arieh Cohen
  • Christian Lindh
  • Richard Ivell
  • Ravinder Anand-Ivell
  • Morten S. Lindhard
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-156
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch