Author(s): De Rosa M, Zarrilli S, Paesano L, Carbone U, Boggia B,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Given the lack of consensus about the effect of traffic-derived pollutants on male fertility, we evaluated semen quality in men occupationally exposed to traffic. METHODS: Semen quality was investigated in 85 men employed at motorway tollgates and in 85 age-matched men living in the same area. Semen, circulating sex hormones, methaemoglobin, sulphaemoglobin, carboxyhaemoglobin, lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) protoporphyrin were assayed. Environmental carbonium oxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide and Pb were also measured. RESULTS: Sperm count, and serum levels of FSH, LH and testosterone were within normal range in both groups. Total motility, forward progression, functional tests and sperm kinetics were significantly lower in tollgate workers versus controls. In a subset of tollgate workers with motility below normal, methaemoglobin was inversely correlated with total motility, viability, the hypo-osmotic swelling test, the acridine orange test, the cervical mucus penetration test, linearity, and amplitude of lateral movement of the sperm head, whereas blood levels of Pb were inversely correlated with viability and sperm count. CONCLUSIONS: The finding that blood methaemoglobin and Pb were inversely correlated with sperm parameters indicates that nitrogen oxide and Pb adversely affect semen quality.
This article was published in Hum Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy