Prenatal diethylstilbestrol exposure and self-reported immune-related diseases

Prenatally DES-exposed offspring are at a higher risk of immune-based disease

1998 Study Abstract

To compare self-reports of immune-related diseases in diethylstilbestrol (DES) daughters and controls. Prenatal exposure to DES has been associated with several malformations in the lower genital tract, a higher prevalence of adenosis, and increased risk of clear cell adenocarcinoma, and estrogen-dependent tumors. Lately, reports have been published indicating a link between DES exposure and alterations in the immune system. The present study focuses on the possible clinical consequences of an affected immune system.

DES daughters (n=170) and control women (n=123) completed questionnaires containing lists of immune-related diseases, specified into three categories (i) allergies, (ii) auto-immune disorders, and (iii) infectious diseases.

DES daughters reported significantly more disease conditions than the controls. Analyses for separate disease categories (allergies, auto-immune disorders, infectious disease), yielded a statistically significant difference only for infectious disease. Within this last category, two infectious diseases yielded highly significant differences: bladder infection and measles.

The present findings suggest that DES daughters are at higher risk of developing immune-related disease states.

  • Prenatal diethylstilbestrol exposure and self-reported immune-related diseases, NCBI, PubMed, European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, PMID: 9578280, 1998 Apr.
  • Image credit nasamarshall.

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