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Reproductive toxicity of low-level lead exposure in men *

Parameters of semen quality, seminal plasma indicators of secretory function of the prostate and seminal vesicles, sex hormones in serum, and biomarkers of lead, cadmium, copper, zinc, and selenium body burden were measured in 240 Croatian men 19–52 years of age. The subjects had no occupational exposure to metals and no known other reasons suspected of influencing male reproductive function or metal metabolism. After adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol, blood cadmium, and serum copper, zinc, and selenium by multiple regression, significant (P<0.05) associations of blood lead (BPb), δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD), and/or erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) with reproductive parameters indicated a lead-related increase in immature sperm concentration, in percentages of pathologic sperm, wide sperm, round sperm, and short sperm, in serum levels of testosterone and estradiol, and a decrease in seminal plasma zinc and in serum prolactin. These reproductive effects were observed at low-level lead exposure (BPb median 49 μg/L, range 11–149 μg/L in the 240 subjects) common for general populations worldwide. The observed significant synergistic effect of BPb and blood cadmium on increasing serum testosterone, and additive effect of a decrease in serum selenium on increasing serum testosterone, may have implications on the initiation and development of prostate cancer because testosterone augments the progress of prostate cancer in its early stages.


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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 01-28-2010
Authors: Spomenka Telismana, Bozo Colakb, Alica Pizenta, Jasna Jurasovica and Petar Cvitkovicb
Source: Environmental Research Volume 105, Issue 2, October 2007, Pages 256-266