Sperm Assays in Man and Other Mammals as Indicators of Chemically Induced Testicular Dysfunction

  • Andrew J. Wyrobek
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 22)


Concern about human exposure to chemical agents has led to the development of numerous bioassays to detect mutagens and carcinogens rapidly and inexpensively. Recent attempts to compare and evaluate the efficacy of these bioassays have shown clearly that no single assay is sufficient (Coordinating Committee, 1978). A number of sperm assays have been developed and evaluated (Wyrobek, in press). Although the mutagenic basis of chemically induced sperm anomalies is generally not well understood, these assays play an important role in mutagenesis and carcinogenesis testing. First, sperm assays can measure chemical damage to the germ cells occurring during spermatogenesis or transit through the efferent ducts. Agents that are found to be mutagenic or carcinogenic in other bioassays can be tested directly for their spermatotoxic effects. This possibility is of major importance because the activity of an agent in bacteria or mammalian somatic cells is often a poor predictor of its activity in the testes after exposure in vivo (Coordinating Committee, 1978). Second, since animal sperm assays are as inexpensive as other short-term tests, many agents can be tested. Third, sperm assays have not only been developed and applied to mice, other rodents, and a variety of domestic animals, but they are also applicable to men exposed to chemicals (Wyrobek and Glendhill, in press).


Sperm Count Human Sperm Sperm Morphology Cyproterone Acetate Sperm Abnormality 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew J. Wyrobek
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence Livermore LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaLivermoreUSA

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