Urinary concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and phthalate metabolite mixtures in relation to semen quality among men attending an infertility clinic

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Jun 23. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-21525-y. Online ahead of print.


Previous studies have reported that exposure to phthalates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is individually associated with altered semen quality, but no human studies have evaluated their joint effects of exposure mixtures, a more real-world scenario. We aimed to explore urinary metabolite mixtures of phthalates and PAHs in associations with semen quality. Repeated spot-urine samples gathered from 695 men attending a fertility clinic were analyzed for urinary metabolites of eight phthalates and ten monohydroxylated-PAHs (OH-PAHs). Principal component analysis (PCA)-multivariable linear regression (MLR) model, quantile g-computation (qg-comp), and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR) were applied to estimate the associations of urinary mixtures of phthalate and OH-PAH metabolites with semen quality. The overall effects of urinary mixtures of phthalate and PAH metabolites on semen quality were not statistically significant. However, hydroxynaphthalene (OHNa) factor identified from PCA was monotonically associated with decreased total sperm count and sperm concentration, whereas di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) factor was non-monotonically related to increased progressive sperm motility and total sperm motility. Qg-comp and BKMR models confirmed these findings and identified 2-OHNa and 2-OHFlu as the primary negative contributors, whereas MEOHP and MEHP as the primary positive contributors. Our findings suggest that exposure to mixtures of naphthalene and DEHP is associated with altered semen quality. The finding is warranted to confirm in further well-designed epidemiological studies.

PMID:35737263 | DOI:10.1007/s11356-022-21525-y

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