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The effects of exposure to lead, cadmium and mercury on follicle-stimulating hormone levels in men and postmenopausal women: data from the Second Korean National Environmental Health Survey (2012?2014)

 ( Lee Tae-Woo ) - Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

 ( Kim Dae-Hwan ) - Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
 ( Ryu Ji-Young ) - Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Abstract


Background: Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a gonadotropin secreted by the pituitary gland, is a representative secondary sex hormone and an important indicator of reproductive function. The effects of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury on humans have been studied, but reports on their effects on sex hormone levels are lacking. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between heavy metal exposure and FSH levels in Korean men and postmenopausal women.

Methods: A total of 4,689 adults (2,763 men and 1,926 postmenopausal women aged 50 years or over) who participated in the Second Korean National Environmental Health Survey (2012?2014) were included. We compared differences in serum FSH levels by demographic characteristics using the t-test and analysis of variance. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between the blood levels of lead and mercury and the urine cadmium level, and serum FSH levels.

Results: On multiple linear regression analysis, lead exposure was positively associated with serum FSH concentrations in postmenopausal women (β = 2.929, p = 0.019). However, we found no significant association between serum FSH concentration and blood lead and mercury levels, or urine cadmium level, in men.

Conclusions: This study suggests that lead exposure can affect the FSH level in postmenopausal women. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effects of low-dose long-term exposure to heavy metals on sex hormones.

키워드

Follicle-stimulating hormone; Lead; Cadmium; Mercury; Heavy metals
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