Science Inventory

EXPOSURE TO INTERMITTENT AIR POLLUTION AND CHANGES IN SEMEN QUALITY: EVIDENCE FOR AN ASSOCIATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR REPRODUCTIVE RISK ASSESSMENT

Citation:

Darney, S P., S G. Selevan, J. Rubes, D. Zudova, AND D. P. Evenson. EXPOSURE TO INTERMITTENT AIR POLLUTION AND CHANGES IN SEMEN QUALITY: EVIDENCE FOR AN ASSOCIATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR REPRODUCTIVE RISK ASSESSMENT. Presented at Advances in Human Research, Exposure and Risk Assessment Related to Reproductive and Developmental Effects, Prague, Czech Republic, March 16-29, 2003.

Description:

Exposure to Intermittent Air Pollution and Changes in Semen Quality:
Evidence for an Association and Implications for Reproductive Risk Assessment.

S. D. Perreault1, S.G. Selevan2, J. Rubes3, D. Zudova3, and D.P. Evenson4
1US EPA, ORD/NHEERL, Research Triangle Park NC, USA; 2 US EPA, ORD/NCEA, Washington, DC, USA;3Veterinary Research Institute, Brno, Czech Republic; 4S. Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA

The Teplice Program included two studies examining the impact of air pollution on semen quality in young Czech men. To our knowledge, these studies provide the first evidence for an association between exposure to high levels of air pollution and adverse effects on sperm quality. The first study evaluated a single semen sample from cohorts of 18 year old men living in Teplice or the control district Prachatice. Men (n=275) were surveyed either in the late summer (unexposed) or late winter (exposed) during 1993-4. As expected, winter exposures were significantly higher in Teplice than in Prachatice. Multivariable analyses revealed significant associations between these high exposures in Teplice and adverse effects on sperm morphology, motility and the Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay, SCSA?, a flow cytometric test that detects DNA damage. A subset of men were also evaluated for sperm aneuploidy and an association was seen between exposure and increased YY disomy (but not for XX, XY or 88). These positive findings motivated a longitudinal study to evaluate semen quality in a smaller group of Teplice men (n = 36, recruited from the first study). Each man provided up to 7 samples during periods of both low pollution (early fall) and high pollution (winter) over a two-year period (1995-7). Again we included traditional semen measures and those for genetic integrity (SCSA? and aneuploidy). Multivariable analysis using mixed models revealed an association between exposure and DNA damage in sperm (SCSA?), consistent with the first study. In contrast, other measures of semen quality were unaffected in this cohort of men, possibly because air pollution was lower during 1995-7 than it had been during the first study. Metabolic genotypes (GSTM1 and NAT2) for each man, provided by R. Sram,were used to evaluate the possibility of gene-environment interactions. An interaction was found between higher levels of air pollution and GSTM1 for SCSA?, suggesting that men who are null for GSTM1 are more susceptible to the adverse reproductive effects of air pollution. These results have important implications for reproductive risk assessment: First, they suggest that exposure to even short episodes of high levels of air pollution may have adverse effects on male reproductive function. Second, while such effects are likely reversible in the man, an affected sperm may transmit genetic damage to the conceptus, resulting in early pregnancy loss or other adverse developmental outcomes.
Rubes J, Lowe X, Moore D, Perreault SD, Slott V, Evenson D, Selevan S, Wyrobek AJ (1998) Smoking cigarettes is associated with increased sperm disomy in teenage men. Fert Steri. 70:715-723.
Robbins WA, Rubes J, Selevan SG, Perreault SD(1999) Air pollution and sperm aneuploidy in healthy young men. Environ Epidemiol Toxicol 1:125-131.
Selevan SG., Borkovec L, Slott V., Zudova Z, Rubes J, Evenson DP, Perreault SD. (2000) Semen quality and reproductive health of young Czech men exposed to seasonal air pollution. Enviro. Health Persp108:887-894.

This is an abstract of a proposed presentation and does not necessarily reflect EPA policy.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 03/16/2003
Record Last Revised: 06/06/2005
Record ID: 80782

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

REPRODUCTIVE TOXICOLOGY DIVISION

GAMETE AND EARLY EMBRYO BIOLOGY BRANCH