PCAHs are toxins that accumulate in the human body.
PCAHs behave as endocrine disruptors, but their precise mechanism of action remains under investigation.
In addition, testicular volume did not correlate with any of the biomarkers of exposure to PCAHs. Testicular volume, however, may be more closely associated with maternal exposure during pregnancy (8).
Moreover, we cannot exclude the possibility that an unknown toxic compound emitted along with PCAHs (e.g., lead or cadmium) adversely influenced the function of Sertoli dells and the secretion of inhibin B.
We did not find an inverse correlation between the serum testosterone concentration and the biomarkers of exposure to PCAHs. This may be explained by the strong diurnal variation and/or the large inter- and intraindividual variability in the serum testosterone concentrations.
The possible effects of PCAHs on sexual differentiation and maturation are less documented in females than in males.
Hence, taking adolescents as study populations has advantages for studying secular trends in the serum concentration of PCAHs and for monitoring the effectiveness of environmental hygiene strategies aiming at the reduction of exposure to these compounds.
In the present study, the host factors independently determining the serum concentrations of PCAHs are serum total cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and body fat content.
Besides accumulation in the adipose tissue, PCAHs preferentially bind to lipid components in the plasma, and the lipid fraction has been shown to be a predominant PCB carrier in plasma (19).
Because PCAHs are persistent in the environment, people may be exposed to them through their diet.
Throughout life, PCAHs accumulate in the mother's body.
The different geographical pattern might be linked to differences in sources of PCAHs between the two suburbs.