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Research Letter |

Association of Breastfeeding With Higher Serum Inhibin B Level at Adolescence

Alfred Bernard, PhD1; Marc Nickmilder, PhD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Unit of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(9):869-870. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.95.
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Breastfeeding has a number of beneficial effects on child growth and development.1 Surprisingly, however, very few data exist about the possible influence of breastfeeding on the development of the male reproductive system, which is known to be particularly vulnerable to hormone dysregulation. A recent study2 in young adults found no association between breastfeeding and male fertility but most subjects examined in this study had been exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy, which is an important risk and confounding factor.3 Herein, we report observations among school-aged adolescents showing for the first time, to our knowledge, a beneficial effect of breastfeeding on testes development.

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Figure.
Serum Inhibin B Levels in School-Aged Adolescents According to the Total Duration of Breastfeeding

The middle horizontal bars represent the median values; the upper and lower limits of the boxes, the interquartile range; and the whiskers, the 10th and 90th percentiles. Inhibin B level was adjusted for age, time of blood sampling, and the cumulative attendance at indoor chlorinated pools before the age of 10 years. The group of breastfed adolescents was dichotomized at the median split of breastfeeding duration. P values represent the Bonferroni-adjusted P values for the comparison of breastfed groups (n = 61 in each group) with the nonbreastfed group (n = 76). DSL indicates Diagnostic System Laboratories; FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone; and OBI, Oxford Bio-Innovation.

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