Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 639–645 | Cite as

Impact of perfluorochemicals on human health and reproduction: a male’s perspective

  • C. ForestaEmail author
  • S. Tescari
  • A. Di Nisio
Short Review


Perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) are a class of organic molecules used in industry and consumer products. PFCs are non-biodegradable and bioaccumulate in the environment and for these reasons they have been a major subject of research regarding their toxicity, environmental fate, and sources of human exposure, since they have been shown to induce severe health consequences, such as neonatal mortality, neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity. The aim of this review is to explore the existing knowledge of the interplay between PFCs exposure and human health, with a focus on male reproductive health, given the emerging gender differences in PFCs clearance and their interaction with sex hormones receptors. A comprehensive PUBMED search was performed using relevant key terms for PFCs and male fertility. Different degrees of evidence suggest an impairment of semen parameters and sex hormones in relation to PFCs exposure. These preliminary results point towards a sex-dependent pharmacodynamics and clearance, with males having a much higher tendency to accumulation. Moreover, because of the widespread environmental occurrence of these chemicals, along with their ability to cross the placental barrier, exposure of the foetus to these compounds is inevitable. This is of concern because foetal development of the male reproductive organs may be disturbed by exposure to exogenous factors. These findings clearly suggest an antiandrogenic potential of PFCs and a link between endocrine disruptors and disorders of male health.


Endocrine disruptors Infertility Androgen receptor Sexual development Male health 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

No informed consent.

Supplementary material

40618_2017_790_MOESM1_ESM.tif (87 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 87 kb)


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Unit of Andrology and Medicine of Human ReproductionUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPaduaItaly

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