Environmental factors in genitourinary development

In utero exposure to DES has been shown to increase the testicular dysgenesis syndrome risk

2010 Study Abstract

In the last century the world has experienced an increase in the use of industrial chemicals as well as possible increases in the prevalence of hypospadias and cryptorchidism. Because hormones regulate the fetal development of many organs, numerous investigations have explored the role of environmental factors in genitourinary growth. We summarize the data regarding endocrine disruptors in human genitourinary development..

A PubMed literature search was performed for human studies from 2004 to 2009.

Few data exist on environmental influences on the kidneys, ureters or bladder. Studies on the influence of pesticides, vegetarian diets, diethylstilbestrol, oral contraceptives and corticosteroids on hypospadias have yielded varied conclusions.

Phthalates appear to increase the odds of hypospadias and anogenital distance.

The testicular dysgenesis syndrome postulates that cryptorchidism, hypospadias, poor semen quality and testicular cancer share a common environmental origin. In utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol has been shown to increase the risk of testicular dysgenesis syndrome.

However, to our knowledge no other environmental factor has been shown to cause testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Some industrial chemicals as well as the pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane have detrimental effects on semen quality. In cases of documented industrial accidents, chemical exposure has also decreased the male-to-female birth ratio.

Data on chemical exposure are largely mixed and inconclusive. Studies of populations with high exposure rates due to industrial accidents or in utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol suggest that endocrine disruptors adversely affect genitourinary development.



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