- Adverse effect of fluoride exposure on human beings is a major public issue in China.
- Fluoride exposure significantly changed the serum level of estradiol in male farmers.
- Polymorphisms of ERa gene affected serum reproductive hormone levels in male.
- Gene-environment and gene-gene interactions on reproductive hormones were found.
The occurrence of endemic fluorosis is derived from high fluoride levels in drinking water and industrial fumes or dust. Reproductive disruption is also a major harm caused by fluoride exposure besides dental and skeletal lesions. However, few studies focus on the mechanism of fluoride exposure on male reproductive function, especially the possible interaction of fluoride exposure and gene polymorphism on male reproductive hormones. Therefore, we conducted a cross-sectional study in rural areas of Henan province in China to explore the interaction between the estrogen receptor alpha (ERa) gene and fluoride exposure on reproductive hormone levels in male farmers living in the endemic fluorosis villages. The results showed that fluoride exposure significantly increased the serum level of estradiol in the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular (HPT) axis in male farmers. Moreover, the observations indicated that fluoride exposure and genetic markers had an interaction on serum concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol, and the interaction among different loci of the ERa gene could impact the serum testosterone level. Findings in the present work suggest that chronic fluoride exposure in drinking water could modulate the levels of reproductive hormones in males living in endemic fluorosis areas, and the interaction between fluoride exposure and ERa polymorphisms might affect the serum levels of hormones in the HPT axis in male farmers.