Research ArticleFETAL DEVELOPMENT

Prolonged exposure to acetaminophen reduces testosterone production by the human fetal testis in a xenograft model

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Science Translational Medicine  20 May 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 288, pp. 288ra80
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa4097

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A risk of prolonged acetaminophen use

The analgesic acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used medications worldwide. Although it has a good safety profile, previous human studies have found an association between the use of acetaminophen in pregnancy and cryptorchidism in male offspring. Now, van den Driesche et al. confirmed and refined this observation in a xenograft model using human fetal testicular tissue. The authors found that a single therapeutic dose of acetaminophen had no effect on testicular development, but continued dosing of acetaminophen for a week at clinically relevant doses reduced fetal testosterone and markers of androgen exposure. Further work will be needed to determine a safe dose and duration of acetaminophen exposure, but the current findings suggest a need for caution.