Toxicology and applied pharmacology

Environmental exposure to lead induces oxidative stress and modulates the function of the antioxidant defense system and the immune system in the semen of males with normal semen profile.

PMID 25771126


We investigated the associations between environmental exposure to lead and a repertoire of cytokines in seminal plasma of males with normal semen profile according to the WHO criteria. Based on the median lead concentration in seminal plasma, 65 samples were divided into two groups: low (LE) and high exposure to lead (HE). Differences in semen volume and the pH, count, motility and morphology of sperm cells were not observed between the examined groups. The total oxidant status value and the level of protein sulfhydryl groups as well as the activities of manganese superoxide dismutase and catalase were significantly higher in the HE group, whereas the total antioxidant capacity value and the activities of glutathione reductase and glutathione-S-transferase were depressed. IL-7, IL-10, IL-12, and TNF-α levels were significantly higher in the HE group compared with the LE group. Environmental exposure to lead is sufficient to induce oxidative stress in seminal plasma and to modulate antioxidant defense system.