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Male Reproductive Health and Environmental Chemicals


. To begin systematic monitoring of semen quality and prevalence of cryptorchidism and hypospadias among newborns in several regions of Europe
. To develop rapid in vivo and in vitro screening systems for the detection of oestrogenic and anti-androgenic potency of the most abundant environmental chemicals . To identify the threshold levels of exposure to environmental chemicals which have been identified as xenoestrogens and their effects on the reproductive system (including expression of several developmental genes) in animal models
. To evaluate exposure of greenhouse workers to selected xenoestrogens which are constituents of commonly used pesticides
. To identify the targets for xenoestrogens at the molecular level
. To investigate a possible link between environmental hormone disruptors and neoplastic transformation of testicular germ cells

Several aspects of male reproductive health have changed dramatically for the worse over the past 50 years. A striking decline in sperm counts in the semen of normal men has been reported in several countries. At the same time the incidence of testicular cancer has increased progressively to become now the most common cancer in young men. Prevalence of other disorders of the male reproductive tract such as hypospadias and cryptorchidism appears to be increasing as well, however with marked geographic differences in Europe. These adverse changes in reproductive health are probably inter-related and may have a common origin in foetal life. It has been well established that exposure of the male foetus to supranormal levels of oestrogens or anti-androgens can result in similar reproductive defects. The growing number of reports demonstrating that common environmental contaminants e.g. PCBs, alkylphenols, phtalates and DDT metabolites possess oestrogenic or anti-androgenic activity presents the working hypothesis that the adverse trends in human male reproductive health may be, at least in part, associated with exposure to environmental chemicals during foetal and childhood development. To explore the problem and test this hypothesis, a substantial research effort using interdisciplinary and multinational approach is needed. Several European laboratories which have been engaged in active basic and clinical research in various areas of expertise (male reproduction, epidemiology, occupational medicine, endocrinology, germ cell differentiation, molecular and cellular biology), formed a consortium in order to continue investigations in more co-ordinated and effective manner. The ultimate goal is to identify the possible environmental sources of hormonal disruptors, to increase knowledge on the mechanisms of their action, and to develop a strategy for prevention.

Régime de financement

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


9,Blegdamsvej 9
2100 Koepenhagen

Participants (6)

Brunel University
United Kingdom
Kingston Lane
UB8 3PH Uxbridge
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale
Avenue Du Général Leclerc
35042 Rennes
Medical Research Council
United Kingdom
37 Chalmers Street
EH3 9EW Edinburgh
Odense Universitet
5000 Odense
10,Kiinamyllynkatu 10
20520 Turku / Abo
Université de Paris V 'René Descartes'
123,Boulevard De Port-royal
75014 Paris