Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Environmental Health Perspectives





Inclusive Pages





Background: Although it is known that sperm aneuploidy contributes to early pregnancy losses and congenital abnormalities, the causes are unknown and environmental contaminants are suspected.

Objectives: Our goal was to evaluate associations between lifetime exposure to organochlorines, specifically dichlorodiphenyldicholorethylene (p,p´-DDE) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and sperm aneuploidy in men from the general population of the Faroe Islands, a population with a known history of organochlorine exposures.

Methods: Serum and semen samples from men (n = 90) 22–44 years old who participated in Faroe Islands health studies were analyzed for p,p´-DDE and PCBs 118, 138, 153, and 180 and adjusted for total lipids. Cord blood and age-14 serum were available for a subgroup (n = 40) and were also analyzed for p,p´-DDE and PCBs. Sperm fluorescence in situhybridization (FISH) for chromosomes X, Y, and 18 was used to determine rates of XX18, XY18, YY18, and total disomy. Multivariable adjusted Poisson models were used to estimate the relationship between organochlorine exposure and sperm disomy outcomes.

Results: Adult p,p´-DDE and total PCB serum concentrations were both associated with significantly increased rates of XX18, XY18, and total disomy. Age-14 p,p´-DDE and PCB concentrations were both associated with significantly increased rates of XX, XY, and total disomy in adulthood. Associations between cord blood concentrations of p,p´-DDE and PCBs and sperm disomy in adulthood were not consistently significant.

Conclusions: Organochlorine exposures measured at age 14 and in adulthood were associated with sperm disomy in this sample of high-exposure men, suggesting that the impacts of persistent pollutants on testicular maturation and function require further investigation.


EHP is a U.S. Government publication and its content lies in the public domain. Reproduced with permission of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is free of known copyright restrictions.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access