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Endocrine-disrupting chemical concentrations in follicular fluid and follicular reproductive hormone levels.

PURPOSE: To determine correlations between chemicals in follicular fluid (FF) and follicular reproductive hormone levels.

METHODS: The analysis was part of a larger cohort study to determine associations between exposure to EDCs and in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes. FF was aspirated from a single leading follicle per participant. Demographics and data on exposure to EDCs were self-reported by the participants using a questionnaire. The concentrations of estradiol (E2), progesterone (PG), anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), and inhibin B, as well as that of 12 phthalate metabolites and 12 phenolic chemicals were measured in each FF sample. Multivariate linear regression model was used to identify the drivers of hormone levels based on participant's age, BMI, smoking status, and chemical exposure for the monitored chemicals detected in more than 50% of the samples. Benjamini-Hochberg false discovery rate (FDR) correction was applied on the resulting p values (q value).

RESULTS: FF samples were obtained from 72 women (mean age 30.9 years). Most of the phthalates and phenolic substances monitored (21/24, 88%) were identified in FF. Ten compounds (7 phthalate metabolites, 3 phenols) were found in more than 50% of samples. In addition, there were positive associations between E2 levels and mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) (beta = 0.01) and mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP) (beta = 0.03) levels (q value < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Higher concentrations of several phthalate metabolites, present among others in personal care products, were associated with increased E2 levels in FF. The results emphasize the need to further investigate the mechanisms of action of such EDCs on hormonal cyclicity and fertility in women.

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