A crossover–crossback prospective study of dibutyl-phthalate exposure from mesalamine medications and serum reproductive hormones in men

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Abstract

Background

Phthalates, such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), are endocrine disruptors used in some medication coatings e.g., mesalamine to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Objectives

Taking advantage of different mesalamine formulations with/without DBP, we assessed whether DBP from mesalamine (>1000x background) altered serum hormones.

Methods

Men (N=73) with IBD participated in a crossover-crossback prospective study and provided up to 6 serum samples (2:baseline, 2:crossover, 2:crossback). Men on non-DBP mesalamine (background) at baseline crossed-over for 4 months to DBP-mesalamine (high) and then crossed-back for 4 months to non-DBP mesalamine (B1HB2-arm) and vice versa for men on DBP-mesalamine at baseline (H1BH2-arm). We divided H1BH2-arm at the median (H1<3yrs or H1≥3yrs). We estimated crossover and crossback % changes in serum reproductive hormones using multivariable linear mixed effect models.

Results

When B1HB2-arm (26 men,134 samples) crossed-over, luteinizing hormone decreased 13.9% (95% confidence interval(CI): −23.6,−3.0) and testosterone, inhibin-B, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) marginally decreased; after crossback all increased 8–14%. H1BH2-arm, H1≥3yrs (25 men,107samples) had no changes at crossover or crossback whereas in H1BH2-arm,H1<3yrs (22 men,100 samples) after crossover, inhibin-B increased 13.2% (CI: 4.2,22.9), FSH decreased 9.9% (CI: −17.9,−1.1) and after crossback, inhibin-B further increased 11.3%, and FSH marginally increased.

Conclusions

High-DBP exposure may disrupt pituitary-gonadal hormones that largely reversed after exposure removal, but only in men with no or short previous high-exposure history. Paradoxically, men with longer duration of high-DBP exposure, exposure removal did not change hormone levels, suggesting that long-term high-DBP exposure may alter the pituitary-gonadal axis and make it insensitive to exposure changes.

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