Association between a biomarker of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and semen quality
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Department of Environmental Epidemiology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland
Department of Gynecology and Reproduction, “Gameta” Hospital, Rzgów, Poland
Department of Chemical Safety, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland
Department of Toxicology and Carcinogenesis, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland
Department of Biotechnology of Animal Reproduction, National Research Institute of Animal Production, Kraków, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2013;26(5):790-801
Objectives: Growing evidence supports the reproductive and developmental toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from prenatal and postnatal exposure, but the results of epidemiological studies regarding harmful effects of PAHs exposure on male reproductive system still remain limited and inconclusive. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between 1-hydroxypyrene, a biomarker of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exposure and semen quality. Materials and Methods: The study population consisted of 277 men attending an infertility clinic for diagnostic purposes and having normal semen concentration of 20-300 mln/ml or slight oligozoospermia (semen concentration: 15-20 mln/ml) (WHO 1999). All the men were healthy and under 45 years of age. All participants were interviewed and provided a semen sample. The interview included questions concerning demographics, socio-economic status, medical history related to past diseases which may have an impact on semen quality, lifestyle factors and occupational information. Concentrations of 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) in the urine samples were analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Results: A positive association was found between the level of 1-OHP in urine and sperm neck abnormalities as well as the percentage of static sperm cells (p = 0.001, p = 0.018, respectively). Additionally, exposure to PAHs measured by 1-OHP in urine decreased semen volume and the percentage of motile sperm cells (p = 0.014, p = 0.0001, respectively). Conclusions: Presented findings indicate that the environmental level of PAHs exposure adversely affects male semen quality. The future large-scale studies should incorporate different biomarkers to generate a more accurate and full assessment of the effects of PAHs exposure on male fertility.
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