Associations between blood metal/ metalloid concentration and human semen quality and sperm function: A cross-sectional study in Hong Kong

Xiao SHI, Carol Pui Shan CHAN, Grace Ka Yan MAN, David Yiu Leung CHAN, Ming Hung WONG, Tin-Chiu LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Background   The association between metal/metalloid exposure on human sperm quality is still inconclusive. There is a lack of data on the effect of metal/metalloid on sperm function.
Methods   The aim of this study was to clarify the association between blood metal/metalloid concentration and traditional and functional sperm parameters, the blood concentration of Pb, Hg, Cd, As, Ni, Mo, Zn, Cu, Se, Fe, Mg, Cr and Ca of 288 men in Hong Kong were assessed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, and sperm parameters including sperm concentration, motility, morphology, vitality, total sperm count, total motile sperm count, sperm DNA fragmentation and sperm acrosome reaction were measured. Demographic and lifestyle questionnaires were also provided for all participants. Multivariable linear regression analysis was performed to test the association between blood metal/ metalloid concentration and semen parameters after adjusting for relevant confounding variables.
Results   The results showed that moderate to high level of blood Pb concentration (>27.19 μg/L) appeared to be negatively associated with sperm morphology (P < 0.05); high level of blood Cd concentration (>1.44 μg/L) was negatively associated with sperm acrosome reaction (P < 0.05); Mo was positively associated with semen volume (P < 0.05), however, high level of blood Mo concentration (>13.52 μg/L) was negatively associated with sperm vitality (P < 0.05); high level of blood Zn concentration (>6.20 mg/L) was positively associated with sperm vitality (P < 0.05); moderate level of blood Fe concentration (526.89−566.63 mg/L) was positively associated with sperm acrosome reaction (P < 0.05); moderate level of blood Ca concentration (55.92−66.10 mg/L) was positively associated with semen volume (P < 0.05); however, lower level of blood Ca concentration (45.90−55.92 mg/L) was negatively associated with sperm morphology (P < 0.05).
Conclusions   Our results suggested that the sperm function could be affected by blood Cd and Fe concentration and traditional sperm parameters could be affected by blood concentration of Mo, Zn, Pb and Ca. Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier GmbH.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126735
JournalJournal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
Volume65
Early online date23 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2021

Citation

Shi, X., Chan, C. P. S., Man, G. K. Y., Chan, D. Y. L., Wong, M. H., & Li, T.-C. (2021). Associations between blood metal/ metalloid concentration and human semen quality and sperm function: A cross-sectional study in Hong Kong. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 65. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2021.126735

Keywords

  • Heavy metals
  • Sperm function
  • Semen analysis
  • Acrosome reaction

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