Manfo FP, Moundipa PF, Déchaud H, Tchana AN, Nantia EA, Zabot MT, Pugeat M, “Effect of agropesticides use on male reproductive function: a study on farmers in Djutitsa (Cameroon),” Environmental Toxicology, 2012, 27:7, DOI: 10.1002/tox.20656.
ABSTRACT: This study aimed at investigating the effect of agropesticides on male reproductive function in farmers in Djutitsa (West Cameroon). To this end, 47 farmers in Djutitsa were asked questions on their health status and pesticide use in agriculture. Thereafter, their blood samples were collected for assessment of sex hormones including serum luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), androstenedione, testosterone, as well as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Their serum triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) levels were also measured. Thirty seven men not exposed to agropesticides were recruited as control group. Fifty six pesticides containing 25 active substances were currently used by farmers enrolled in our study, and most of their symptoms were related to spread/use of these chemicals. Compared to the control group, there was no significant difference in FSH, LH, SHBG, estradiol, and thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) levels. Farmers had significantly lower serum testosterone (20.93 ± 1.03 nM vs. 24.32 ± 1.32 nM; P < 0.05) and higher androstenedione level (3.83 ± 0.20 nM vs. 2.80 ± 0.15 nM; P < 0.001). Their serum free testosterone as well as bioavailable testosterone were unchanged, while estradiol/testosterone and androstenedione/testosterone ratios were significantly increased (0.45 ± 0.03% vs. 0.33 ± 0.02%; P < 0.01 and 12.26 ± 3.64 vs 19.31 ± 6.82; P < 0.001, respectively). Our results suggest that male farmers of Djutitsa (West Cameroon) are exposed to agropesticides due to improper protective tool, and this exposure may impair their reproductive function through inhibition of testosterone synthesis; probably by inhibition of testicular 17β- hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17HSD3) and induction of aromatase (CYP19).