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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2013, Article ID 510703, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Correlation of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Serum Levels and White Blood Cells Gene Expression of Nuclear Receptors in a Population of Infertile Women

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Sciences and Urological Sciences, University of Rome “Sapienza”, S. Andrea Hospital, Via di Grottarossa 1035, 00189 Rome, Italy
2Department of Woman Health and Territory's Medicine, University of Rome “Sapienza”, S. Andrea Hospital, Via di Grottarossa 1035, 00189 Rome, Italy
3Department of Environmental Sciences “G. Sarfatti”, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
4Department of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health, Food and Veterinary Toxicology Unit, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
5Department of Biomedical Sciences and Advanced Therapies, Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Ferrara, Corso Giovecca 203, 44121 Ferrara, Italy

Received 18 December 2012; Revised 2 April 2013; Accepted 3 April 2013

Academic Editor: Ewa Gregoraszczuk

Copyright © 2013 Donatella Caserta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Significant evidence supports that many endocrine disrupting chemicals could affect female reproductive health. Aim of this study was to compare the internal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), monoethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP), and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in serum samples of 111 infertile women and 44 fertile women. Levels of gene expression of nuclear receptors (ERα, ERβ, AR, AhR, PXR, and PPARγ) were also analyzed as biomarkers of effective dose. The percentage of women with BPA concentrations above the limit of detection was significantly higher in infertile women than in controls. No statistically significant difference was found with regard to PFOS, PFOA, MEHP and DEHP. Infertile patients showed gene expression levels of ERα, ERβ, AR, and PXR significantly higher than controls. In infertile women, a positive association was found between BPA and MEHP levels and ERα, ERβ, AR, AhR, and PXR expression. PFOS concentration positively correlated with AR and PXR expression. PFOA levels negatively correlated with AhR expression. No correlation was found between DEHP levels and all evaluated nuclear receptors. This study underlines the need to provide special attention to substances that are still widely present in the environment and to integrate exposure measurements with relevant indicators of biological effects.