Androgen receptor gene CAG repeat length as a modifier of the association between persistent organohalogen pollutant exposure markers and semen characteristics

Aleksander Giwercman, Lars Rylander, Anna Rignell-Hydbom, Bo A.G. Jönsson, Henning S. Pedersen, Jan K. Ludwicki, Vladimir Lesovoy, Valentyna Zvyezday, Marcello Spano, Gian-Carlo Manicardi, Davide Bizzaro, Eva C. Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Gunnar Toft, Jens Peter Bonde, Charlotte Giwercman, Tarmo Tiido, Yvonne Lundberg Giwercman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Exposure to persistent organohalogen pollutants was suggested to impair male reproductive function. A gene-environment interaction has been proposed. No genes modifying the effect of persistent organohalogen pollutants on reproductive organs have yet been identified. We aimed to investigate whether the CAG and GGN polymorphisms in the androgen receptor gene modify the effect of persistent organohalogen pollutant exposure on human sperm characteristics. METHODS: Semen and blood from 680 men [mean (SD) age 34 (10) years] from Greenland, Sweden, Warsaw (Poland) and Kharkiv (Ukraine) were collected. Persistent organohalogen pollutant exposure was assessed by measuring serum levels of 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene (p,p′-DDE). Semen characteristics (volume, sperm concentration, total count, proportion of progressively motile and morphology) and DNA fragmentation index (DFI) were determined. CAG and GGN repeat lengths were determined by direct sequencing of leukocyte DNA. RESULTS: A statistically significant interaction was found between the CB-153 group and CAG repeat category in relation to sperm concentration and total sperm count (P=0.03 and 0.01, respectively). For p,p′-DDE, in the European cohorts a significant interaction was found in relation to DFI (P=0.01). For CAG<20, sperm concentration and total sperm count were 35 and 42% lower, respectively, when the group with CB-153 exposure above median was compared with that below the median. DFI was 40% higher in the high p,p′-DDE exposure group for CAG≤21. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicated that the androgen receptor CAG repeat length might modify the susceptibility of an individual to the adverse effects of persistent organohalogen pollutant exposure on semen quality. Other studies regarding this matter are warranted. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391 - 401
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacogenetics and Genomics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this