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Table 5 Effect of pollutants on ovarian functions in animals and humans

From: Does air pollution play a role in infertility?: a systematic review

Publication Species Number of subjects Air pollutant (s) studied Methodology Results
Ogliari et al., 2013 [71] Mice 37 Multiple pollutants from diesel exhaust 4 groups of females: - group 1 = intrauterine and postnatal (60 days) exposure to filtered air - group 2 = intrauterine exposure to polluted air from diesel exhaust and postnatal exposure to filtered air - group 3 = intrauterine exposure to filtered air and postnatal to polluted air - group 4 = intrauterine and postnatal exposure to polluted air Morphometric analysis of ovaries to define relative area occupied by primordial, primary, secondary, and Graaf follicles. Significant decreased proportional area occupied by primordial follicles in all exposed mice, whether in utero (p = 0.035), during postnatal period (p = 0.015) or both (p = 0 .004). Proportions of primary follicles (p = 0.04) and secondary follicles (p = 0.05) were only reduced in mice exposed in utero.
Thurston et al., 2000 [72] Humans 3343 Benzene Cross-sectional study: Used standardized questionnaire to measure length of menstrual cycles in women working in petrochemical industry and determined association with exposure to benzene based on self-reports. After 7 years of work, increase risk of having abnormal menstrual cycle length (less than 21 or more than 35 days) with every 5 years of additional benzene exposure: Odds Ratio: 1.71 (95% CI:1.27–2.31).
Cho et al., 2001 [73] Humans 1408 Multiple pollutants from occupational exposure to organic solvents (benzene, toluene, styrene, and/or xylene) Cross sectional study: Measured length of menstrual cycles based on questionnaire administered by interviewer in group of women working in petrochemical industry and exposed to organic solvents compared to unexposed group (based on qualitative industrial hygiene assessment) working in same company. Compared to unexposed group, odds ratio (95%CI) of oligomenorrhea (menstrual cycles exceeding 35 days) in group exposed to: styrene: 1.65 (1.05–2.55) xylene: 1.63 (1.04–2.53) benzene: 1.35 (0.90–2.00) toluene: 1.43 (0.93–2.17) all solvents: 1.76 (1.08–2.82)
Tomei et al., 2006 [74] Humans 201 Multiple pollutants from automobile traffic Prospective cohort study: Compared levels of blood 17β-estradiol in follicular, ovulatory and luteal phases of cycle in female police officers assigned to automobile traffic (n = 100) to levels in control group of female police officers assigned to indoor activities (n = 101). Groups matched on numerous criteria including day of cycle. Significant decrease in mean (SD) level of estradiol in exposed group during follicular phase (50.4 (21.1) vs 118.5 (71.1) pg/ml; p< 0.001) and luteal phase (82.3 (33.0) vs 153.9 (57.3) pg/ml; p< 0.001), but not in ovulatory phase (150.9 (91.6) vs 193.5 (112.5) pg/ml; NS).