Skip to main content
Associations of Peripubertal Serum Dioxin and Polychlorinated Biphenyl Concentrations with Pubertal Timing among Russian Boys
Cell and Developmental Biology Publications
  • Jane S. Burns, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Mary M. Lee, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Paige L. Williams, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Susan A. Korrick, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Oleg Sergeyev, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Thuy Lam, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Boris Revich, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Russ Hauser, Harvard School of Public Health
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology; Department of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology
Publication Date
Document Type
BACKGROUND: Dioxins, furans, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin-like and nondioxin-like, have been linked to alterations in puberty. OBJECTIVES: We examined the association of peripubertal serum levels of these compounds (and their toxic equivalents (TEQs)) with pubertal onset and maturity among Russian boys enrolled at ages 8-9 years and followed prospectively through ages 17-18 years. METHODS: At enrollment, 473 boys had serum dioxin-like compounds and PCBs measured. At the baseline visit and annually until age 17-18 years, a physician performed pubertal staging [Genitalia (G), Pubarche (P), and testicular volume (TV)]. 315 subjects completed the follow-up visit at 17-18 years of age. Pubertal onset was defined as TV > 3 mL, G2, or P2. Sexual maturity was defined as TV > /=20 mL, G5, or P5. Multivariable interval-censored models were used to evaluate associations of lipid-standardized concentrations with pubertal timing. RESULTS: Medians (interquartile ranges) of the sum of dioxin-like compounds, TEQs, and nondioxin-like-PCBs were 362 pg/g lipid (279-495), 21.1 pg TEQ/g lipid (14.4-33.2), and 250 ng/g lipid (164-395), respectively. In adjusted models, the highest compared to lowest TEQ quartile was associated with later pubertal onset (months; 95% CI) [TV 11.6 (3.8, 19.4); G2 10.1 (1.4, 18.8)] and sexual maturity [TV 11.6 (5.7, 17.6); G5 9.7 (3.1, 16.2)]. However, the highest compared to the lowest quartile of nondioxin-like-PCBs, when co-adjusted by TEQs, was associated with earlier pubertal onset [TV -8.3 (-16.2, -0.3)] and sexual maturity [TV -6.3 (-12.2, -0.3); G5 -7.2 (-13.8, -0.6)]; the nondioxin-like-PCB associations were only significant when adjusted for TEQs. TEQs and PCBs were not significantly associated with pubic hair development. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that TEQs may delay, while nondioxin-like-PCBs advance, the timing of male puberty.
Rights and Permissions
Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) is an open-access publisher. All original content published in the journal and on this website is open and may be accessed and read freely by all interested users. EHP is published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. As a publication of the U.S. Federal Government, all original content is without copyright, and resides in the public domain.
DOI of Published Version
Environ Health Perspect. 2016 May 17. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Jane S. Burns, Mary M. Lee, Paige L. Williams, Susan A. Korrick, et al.. "Associations of Peripubertal Serum Dioxin and Polychlorinated Biphenyl Concentrations with Pubertal Timing among Russian Boys" (2016) ISSN: 0091-6765 (Linking)
Available at: