Polychlorobiphenyl congeners,p,p′-DDE, and sperm function in humans

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170 seminal samples from fertile men, men with idiopathic oligospermia or azoospermia and men status post vasectomy were analyzed for 74 polychlorobiphenyl (PCB) congeners,p,p′-DDE, mirex, and hexachlorobenzene using the technique of glass capillary gas chromatography with electron capture detection. Low concentrations of 32 PCB congeners were measured (mean total PCB residue of 5.8 ng/g wet weight). The application of multiple linear regression analysis to the data is described and the result is critically evaluated. There is a correlation between sperm motility and count. There are indications that the concentrations of three PCB congeners (2,4,5,2′4′5′- and 2,4,5,2′3′4′-hexachlorobiphenyl and 2,4,5,3′4′-pentachlorobiphenyl) are inversely correlated with sperm motility index in samples with a sperm count less than 20 million cells/ml. The implications of the discerned associations are discussed.