Decreased total sperm counts in habitants of highly polluted areas of Eastern Sicily, Italy
Air pollution has been suggested to affect semen quality, but the evidence is still contradictory. To assess whether any differences occur in conventional sperm parameters of men life-long resident in low, middle-low, middle, and high industrial density zones in the province of Messina. We retrospectively analyzed the conventional sperm parameters of patients to whom the sperm analysis was requested during their female partner counseling for infertility in an assisted reproductive technique (ART) center. A total of 184 men were enrolled. Total sperm count was higher in patients living in low and middle-low industrial density areas compared with that of men living in middle and high ones (123.5 ± 146.8 vs. 80.7 ± 92.7 mil/ejaculate, p < 0.05). No difference was found for sperm concentration (37.2 ± 49.7 vs. 30.5 ± 37.2 mil/mL), progressive motility (15.4 ± 19.8% vs. 14.2 ± 18.4%), total motility (62.3 ± 20.5 vs. 58.4 ± 19.9 mil/mL), and normal forms (2.7 ± 1.5 vs. 2.3 ± 3.0 mil/mL). These results add further evidence to findings from Sicilian population. Effective control of air pollution should be accomplished to prevent its negative impact on human reproductive health.
KeywordsAir pollution Pollution Male infertility Sperm count Sperm concentration Oligozoospermia
Regional Agency for Environmental Protection
Assisted reproductive technique
Reactive oxygen species
Volatile organic compounds
Compliance with ethical standards
Ethical approval and consent to participate
All procedures involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standard of institutional research committee and with Helsinki declaration.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
- Calogero AE, La Vignera S, Condorelli RA, Perdichizzi A, Valenti D, Asero P, Carbone U, Boggia B, De Rosa N, Lombardi G, D'Agata R, Vicari LO, Vicari E, De Rosa M (2011) Environmental car exhaust pollution damages human sperm chromatin and DNA. J Endocrinol Investig 34:e139–e143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Chen H, Goldberg MS, Villeneuve PJ (2008) A systematic review of the relation between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and chronic diseases. Rev Environ Health 23:243–297Google Scholar
- Kothari S, Thompson A, Agarwal A, du Plessis SS (2010) Free radicals: their beneficial and detrimental effects on sperm function. Indian J Exp Biol 48:425–435Google Scholar
- Mínguez-Alarcón L, Williams PL, Chiu YH, Gaskins AJ, Nassan FL, Dadd R, Petrozza J, Hauser R, Chavarro JE, Earth Study Team (2018) Secular trends in semen parameters among men attending a fertility center between 2000 and 2017: identifying potential predictors. Environ Int 121(2):1297–1303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- World Health Organization (2010) WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen, 5th edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Zhang HT, Zhang Z, Cao J, Tang WH, Zhang HL, Hong K, Lin HC, Wu H, Chen Q, Jiang H (2019b) Ambient ozone pollution is associated with decreased semen quality: longitudinal analysis of 8945 semen samples from 2015 to 2018 and during pollution-control period in Beijing, China. Asian J Androl 0:0. https://doi.org/10.4103/aja.aja_116_18 CrossRefGoogle Scholar