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The Office of the Director provides leadership and management for the Division's three research branches, and help to oversee the translation of research findings generated by Division investigators. The Division provides centralized computing and programming resources for all Division investigators, Intramural Research Training Award Fellows, and students participating in the Summer Intern Program.
The overarching research goal of the LIFE Study is to understand the relation between environmental (non-genetic) exposures and couple fecundity in the context of lifestyle factors important for human fecundity and fertility.
- Preconception blood concentrations of heavy metals were significantly associated with reduced couple fecundity as measured by a longer time required for couples to become pregnant. Female partners' blood cadmium concentrations reduced fecundity as measured by fecundability odds ratios <1 (FOR=0.78; 95% CI 0.63, 0.97), as did male partners' blood lead concentrations (FOR=0.85; 95% CI 0.73, 0.98). When jointly modeling couples' metal exposures, only male lead concentration significantly reduced the FOR (0.82; 95% CI 0.68, 0.97), though the FOR remained <1 for female cadmium (0.80; 95% CI 0.64, 1.00). This prospective couple based cohort with longitudinal capture of time to pregnancy is suggestive of cadmium and lead's reproductive toxicity at environmentally relevant concentrations.
Buck Louis, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Chen Z, Kim S, Caldwell K, Boyd Barr D. Heavy metals and couple fecundity, the LIFE Study.
Chemosphere 2012; 87:1201-1207.
- Select persistent environmental chemicals were associated with reduced fecundability as measured by requiring a longer time to pregnancy. Chemicals associated with reduced fecundity included: PCB congeners 118, 167, 209, and perfluorooctane sulfonamide in females; and p,p´-DDE and PCB congeners 138, 156, 157, 167, 170, 172, and 209 in males. In this unique cohort of couples enrolled prior to conception and followed for up to 12 months of trying to conceive, a subset of persistent environmental chemicals were associated with reduced fecundity.
Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Maisog J, Kim S, Chen Z, Barr DB. Persistent environmental pollutants and couple fecundity, The LIFE Study.
Environmental Health Perspectives 2013; 121(2):231-236.
- Two short-lived endocrine disrupting environmental chemicals measured in male partners’ urines while participating in the LIFE Study were associated with approximately a 20% reduction in couple fecundity, as measured by a longer-time-to-pregnancy. The two phthalates were monobenzyl phthalate (mBzP) and monomethyl phthalate (mMP). Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Sweeney AM, Schisterman EF, Maisog J, Kannan K. Urinary bisphenol A, phthalates and couple fecundity, The LIFE Study. Fertility and Sterility 2014;101(5):1359-1366. PMID: 24534276
- Another short-lived endocrine disrupting chemical 2,2`,4,4`-tetrahydroxybenzophenone (BP-2) that was measured in male partners’ urine was found to be associated with a 31% reduction in couple fecundity, as measured by a longer time-to-pregnancy. This is the first study to link sunscreen filter type chemicals to diminished couple fecundity. Buck Louis GM, Kannan K, Sapra KJ, Maisog J, Sundaram R. Urinary concentrations of benzophenone-type UV filters and couple fecundity. American Journal of Epidemiology 2014;180(12):1168-1175. PMID: 25395025
- Perfluorinated chemicals are widespread environmental contaminants. One particular compound—perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA)—was associated with reductions in sperm head area and perimeter, a lower percentage of DNA stainable sperm, and a higher percentage of bicephalic and immature sperm. These findings suggest sperm quality may be reduced, though it is unknown if such changes will affect a couple’s ability to become pregnant. Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Schisterman EF, Kim S, Sweeney AM, Sundaram R, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Barr DB. Perflurochemicals and Human Semen Quality, the LIFE Study. Environmental Health Perspectives 2015;123(1):57-63. PMID: 25127343
- Two of five benzophenone-type UV filters or sunscreens were found associated with semen quality. 2,2`,4,4`-tetrahydroxybenzophenone (BP-2) was associated with diminished sperm concentration and straight and linear movement, more immature sperm, and a decreased percentage of sperm with other tail abnormalities. 2,2’-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone (BP-8) was associated with decreased hypo-osmotic swelling and a higher acrosome area. Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Kim S, Sapra KJ, Bae J, Kannan K. Urinary concentrations of benzophenone-type ultra violet light filters and semen quality. Fertility and Sterility 2015; Aug 5. Pii:S0015-0282(15)01640-4. PMID: 26253817
The overarching research goal of the ENDO Study is to understand the relation between environmental influences and female fecundity, as measured by gynecologic health and diseases such as endometriosis and fibroids.
- Two persistent organochlorine environmental pesticides were associated with an increased odds of an endometriosis diagnosis. Specifically in the operative cohort, ?-hexachlorocyclohexane (?-HCH) was positively associated with endometriosis (per 1-SD increase in log-transformed ?-HCH: adjusted OR (AOR) = 1.27; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.59), while ß-HCH was the only significant predictor in the population cohort (per 1-SD increase in log-transformed ß-HCH: AOR = 1.72; 95% CI: 1.09, 2.72). These findings are consistent with other persistent environmental and hormonally active chemicals being associated with an endometriosis diagnosis.
Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Peterson CM, Hediger ML, Croughan MS, Sundaram R, Stanford JB, Varner MW, Fujimoto VY, Giudice LC, Trumble A, Parsons PJ, Kannan K. Persistent lipophilic environmental chemicals and endometriosis: The ENDO Study, 2007-2009.
Environmental Health Perspectives 2012; 120(6):811-816.
- In one of the first investigations focusing on persistent environmental chemicals and fibroids among women participating in the ENDO Study, serum concentrations of p,p`-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p`-DDE) was associated with a higher (37%) odds of a fibroid diagnosis. Also, 6 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) measured in omental fat were associated with a higher odds (52% to 88%) of a fibroid diagnosis, as well. Trabert B, Chen Z, Kannan K, Peterson CM, Pollack A, Sun L, Buck Louis GM. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and fibroids: Results from the ENDO study. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2015;25:278-285. PMID: 24802554
- In a comprehensive investigation of pain among reproductive aged women, ≥ 30% of women reported experiencing chronic and cyclic pelvic pain regardless of their postoperative diagnosis. In comparison to women diagnosed with other gynecologic disorders or a normal pelvis, women with endometriosis reported more cyclic pelvic and chronic pain. Deep pain with intercourse, cramping with periods, and pain with bowel elimination were much more likely reported in women with versus without endometriosis. Schliep KC, Mumford SL, Peterson CM, Chen Z, Sharp HT, Johnstone EB, Hammoud AO, Stanford JB, Sun L, Buck Louis GM. Pain typology and incident endometriosis. Pain characterization among women with and without endometriosis using operative and non-operative diagnostic methodologies. Human Reproduction 2015; Aug 1. Pii: dev147. PMID: 26269527