Background/Aims: Evidence is unclear whether prenatal smoking affects age at menarche and pubertal development, and its impact upon hormones has not been well studied. We aim to identify potential pathways through which prenatal smoking and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) affect reproductive hormones in girls approaching puberty. Methods: We examined the association between prenatal smoking, current ETS and luteinizing hormone (LH) and inhibin B (InB) in 6- to 11-year-old girls in the 3rd National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994. Parents/guardians completed interviewer-assisted questionnaires on health and demographics at the time of physical examination. Residual blood samples were analyzed for reproductive hormones in 2008. Results: Of 660 girls, 19 and 39% were exposed to prenatal smoke and current ETS, respectively. Accounting for multiple pathways in structural equation models, prenatally exposed girls had significantly lower LH (β = -0.205 log-mIU/ml, p < 0.0001) and InB (β = -0.162, log-pg/ml, p < 0.0001). Prenatal smoking also influenced LH positively and InB negatively indirectly through BMI-for-age. ETS was positively associated with LH, but not with InB. Conclusion: Exposure to maternal smoking may disrupt reproductive development manifesting in altered hormone levels near puberty.
- Endocrine disruptors
- Environmental tobacco smoke