2004 Volume 21 Issue 3 Pages 141-148
This study aimed to investigate the effects of metals on semen profiles. The concentrations of 50 elements in seminal plasma collected from 128 infertile men were measured. Eleven (Na, Mg, P, K, Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn, Se, Rb, Sr) elements were positively detected in all samples. Another eight elements (V, Mn, Co, As, Mo, Cd, Sn, Ba) were detected in over 75% of the samples. In these 19 elements, significant correlations were observed only between copper concentration and sperm motility. The presence of cadmium and zinc in seminal plasma was associated with a low total sperm number (p=0.067) and low sperm motility (p=0.052), respectively. Higher concentrations of cadmium were observed in the Brinkmann index under 100 than in that over 100 (p=0.055). Recovery of sperm motility after EDTA treatment was observed with in vitro exposure to 300 μg/ml of zinc sulfate. Declines in sperm motility after exposure to 50 μg/ml of copper sulfate were irreversible, even with EDTA treatment. It was suggested that excess copper and zinc in seminal plasma was detrimental for male reproductive capacity by reducing sperm motility. It also appeared that cadmium may exert toxic effects on spermatogenesis, after long-term exposure, as occurs with cigarette smoking.
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