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Environmental research

Association between sperm DNA integrity and seminal plasma antioxidant levels in health workers occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation.


PMID 24834825

Abstract

There is a paucity of data regarding the association between occupational radiation exposure and risk to human fertility. Recently, we provided the first evidence on altered sperm functional characteristics, DNA damage and hypermethylation in radiation health workers. However, there is no report elucidating the association between seminal plasma antioxidants and sperm chromatin integrity in occupationally exposed subjects. Here, we assessed the seminal plasma antioxidants and lipid peroxidation level in 83 men who were occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation and then correlated with the sperm chromatin integrity. Flow cytometry based sperm chromatin integrity assay revealed a significant decline in αt value in the exposed group in comparison to the non-exposed group (P<0.0001). Similarly, both total and reduced glutathione levels and total antioxidant capacity in the seminal plasma were significantly higher in exposed group than the non-exposed group (P<0.01, 0.001 and 0.0001, respectively). However, superoxide dismutase level and malondialdehyde level, which is an indicator of lipid peroxidation in the seminal plasma, did not differ significantly between two groups. The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and GSH level exhibited a positive correlation with sperm DNA integrity in exposed subjects. To conclude, this study distinctly shows that altered sperm chromatin integrity in radiation health workers is associated with increase in seminal plasma antioxidant level. Further, the increased seminal plasma GSH and TAC could be an adaptive measure to tackle the oxidative stress to protect genetic and functional sperm deformities in radiation health workers.

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