Former studies in rodents and cell lines have demonstrated ovarian toxicity caused by n-hexane and/or 2,5-hexanedione (2,5HD). In women occupationally exposed to solvents, variables ”menstrual cycle period” and ”time for getting pregnant” have been longer compared with controls, without identifying a compound responsible for those effects.Material and methods
We studied a group of Mexican women labouring in a shoe Factory (n=32). Individual environmental levels for seven compounds, included n-hexane, were measured. Also, urinary 2,5HD and seric FSH and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) as potential biomarkers of ovarian toxicity, in addition to a gyneco-obstetric history were obtained. We performed all tests and questionnaires in a reference group as well (n=32).Results
Mean exposure levels to n-hexane (49.2±39.6 mg/m3) and toluene (30.8±24.5 mg/m3) were the highest observed. There were no significant differences in serum FSH and AMH concentrations between groups (p>0.05). Exposed group showed prolonged menstrual cycles (p=0.007) and augmented time for getting pregnant compared with controls (p=0.007). Also in the exposed group, signifcant correlations were observed between FSH levels and n-hexane (r=−0.34, p=0.028) as well as FSH and 2,5HD (r=−0.33, p=0.029).Conclusions
n-hexane exposure may be responsible for a prolonged menstrual cycle. As judged by the correlations between FSH with n-hexane and 2,5HD this affection could be in the endocrine pathway rather than in the ovary itself. n-hexane could act as endocrine disruptor in women of reproductive age.