In male rodents, anogenital distance (AGD) provides a sensitive and continuous correlate of androgen exposure in the intrauterine environment and predicts later reproductive success.
Some endocrine disrupting chemicals can alter male reproductive tract development, including shortening AGD, in both rodents and humans. Whether AGD is related to semen quality in human is
Researchers used multiple regression analyses to model the relationships between sperm parameters and two alternative measures of AGD (anus to the posterior base of the scrotum [AGDAS], and to the cephalad insertion of the penis [AGDAP]), in 126 volunteers in Rochester,
Results: AGDAS, but not AGDAP, was associated with sperm concentration, motility, morphology, total sperm count and total motile count (p-values 0.002-0.048). Men with AGDAS below (compared to above) the median were 7.3 times more likely (95% CI 2.5, 21.6) to have a low sperm concentration (<20x106/ml).
For a typical study participant, sperm concentrations were 34.7 x106/ml and 51.6 x106/ml at the 25th and 75th percentiles of (adjusted) AGDAS.
In our population, AGDAS was a strong correlate of all semen parameters and a predictor of low sperm concentration.
In animals, male AGD at birth reflects androgen levels during the masculinization programming window and predicts adult AGD and reproductive function.
The results suggest, therefore, that the androgenic environment during early fetal life exerts a fundamental influence on both AGD and adult sperm counts in humans, as demonstrated in rodents.
Authors and source
Mendiola J, Stahlhut RW, Jørgensen N, Liu F, Swan SH 2011. Shorter Anogenital Distance Predicts Poorer Semen Quality in Young Men in Rochester, New York. Environ Health Perspect :-.