The relationship between reproductive outcome measures in DDT exposed malaria vector control workers: a cross-sectional study

Journal Article


Journal Title

Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

BioMed Central Ltd


University of Cape Town

BACKGROUND:The utility of blood reproductive endocrine biomarkers for assessing or estimating semen quality was explored. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 47 DDT exposed malaria vector control workers was performed. Tests included blood basal and post gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH), lutenizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), estradiol (E2) and inhibin; a questionnaire (demographics and general medical history); a physical examination and semen analysis. Semen parameters were determined using either/or or both WHO or the strict Tygerberg criteria. Relationships between semen parameters and endocrine measures were adjusted for age, duration of abstinence before sampling, presence of physical abnormalities and fever in the last two months. All relationships between specific endocrine hormones were adjusted for age and basal SHBG. RESULTS: Multiple logistic regression showed a consistent positive relationship (prevalence odds ratio (POR) = 8.2, CI:1.4-49.2) between low basal inhibin (<100 pg/ml) and low semen count (< 40 million) and density (< 20 million/ml); consistent positive, but weaker relationships (1> POR < 2) between abnormally low semen count as well as density and baseline and post GnRH FSH; and positive relationships (POR = 37, CI:2-655) between the prevalence of high basal estradiol (> 50 pg/ml) and abnormal morphology (proportion < 5%) and low motility (proportion <50%). Most of the expected physiological relationships between specific endocrines were significant. CONCLUSION: The study has demonstrated that low basal inhibin, elevated basal FSH and high basal E2 can serve as markers of impaired semen quality.