Is there a correlation between organochlorine compounds and undescended testes?

S. Hosie, S. Loff, K. Witt, K. Niessen, K. L. Waag

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129 Scopus citations


Some pesticides and synthetic chemicals are known to act as hormonal modulators, often possessing oestrogenic activity (xenooestrogens). They are persistent and accumulate in fatty tissue. Aim of our study is to address the question, whether a selection of such compounds is to be found in the fatty tissue of children undergoing surgical procedures and whether there are differences in values obtained from patients with or without undescended testes. Fat samples of 48 patients, 18 of whom had undescended testes, were examined by high-resolution gas chromatography and mass spectrometry for DDT and metabolites, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), toxaphenes, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), chlorinated cyclodienes and chlorinated benzenes. We were able to find accumulation of all substances in every patient. Statistical analysis revealed a highly significant difference between patients from the control group and those from the undescended testes group for two compounds, namely heptachloroepoxide (HCE) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), increased values being found in the patients with undescended testes. Since the aetiology of this entity is unknown in most of the cases, prenatal exposure to exogenous oestrogens is an attractive and plausible hypothesis. In order to confirm this, some questions will have to be answered in further studies: effect of exposure to xenooestrogens during a specific period of development, probable role of other substances with proven or suspected hormonal activity, potential synergism of such compounds and differences in individual susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-309
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryptorchidism
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Pesticides
  • Testicular descent
  • Undescended testes
  • Xenooestrogens


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