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Effect of cigarette smoke on DNA damage, oxidative stress, and morphological alterations in mouse testis and spermatozoa.

International journal of hygiene and environmental health (2014-09-28)
Sebastiano La Maestra, Silvio De Flora, Rosanna T Micale
ABSTRACT

Although the adverse effects of active smoking on sperm quality and fertilization ability are well established, little is known about possible effects of involuntary exposures to cigarette smoke (CS). We designed an experimental study aimed at evaluating the induction of possible noxious effects on testicular morphology and functions in A/J mice exposed whole-body to CS during the first 70 days of life, from birth to early adulthood. Twenty-five sham-exposed neonatal mice and 23 CS-exposed neonatal mice were used. Exposure to CS caused a variety of interconnected alterations in male gonads, including loss of weight and histomorphological alterations of testis, accompanied by a significant increase in abnormalities affecting epidydimal spermatozoa. Induction of oxidative stress was demonstrated by significantly increased concentrations of both reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation products in sperm cells. Occurrence of DNA damage in the same cells was documented by using the single cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assay, which showed a remarkable increase in DNA single- and double-strand breaks in CS-exposed mice, as compared with sham-exposed mice. Since biochemical and molecular alterations of sperm cells are known to be associated with impaired sperm quality, our findings suggest that involuntary smoking is potentially able to impair fertility in subjects exposed early in life.

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