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IJERPH, Vol. 13, Pages 360: Influence of Occupational and Environmental Exposure to Low Concentrations of Polychlorobiphenyls and a Smoking Habit on the Urinary Excretion of Corticosteroid Hormones

25 Mar 2016

The effects of occupational exposure to low concentrations of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) on the urinary excretion of corticosteroid hormones were evaluated, taking into account the influence of cigarette smoking. The study included 26 males working as electrical maintenance staff in a steel factory, previously exposed to a mixture of PCBs (exposed workers), and 30 male workers with no occupational exposure to PCBs (controls). Serum PCBs (33 congeners), urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids, 17-ketosteroids (KS) and pregnanes, and their respective glucuronidated and sulfonated compounds, were determined for each subject. PCBs were significantly higher in the exposed workers than controls, and were correlated with age. Both the urinary concentrations of the total 17-KS and pregnanes, and those of some single steroids and their glucuronidated compounds, were significantly lower in the exposed workers than controls, but higher in smokers than the non-smokers + ex-smokers. Two-way analysis of variance showed a negative association between serum PCBs and both total glucuronidated 17-KS and total and glucuronidated pregnanes, and a positive association between cigarette smoking and both total and glucuronidated 17-KS. PCBs seem to act as endocrine disruptors by reducing the urinary excretion of corticosteroid hormones, particularly of the glucuronidated fraction. Cigarette smoking could boost these effects of PCBs in smokers.

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