BACKGROUND: In recent decades, there has been an increase in male infertility, and in many cases, the etiology remains unclear. Several studies relate male hypo-fertility to xenobiotic exposure, even if no data exist about multiple exposure at the environmental level. METHODS: The study involved 86 males with diagnosis of idiopathic male infertility (IMI), and 46 controls with no alteration in sperm characteristics. Seminal plasma (SP) and urine samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to quantify biomarkers of exposure (the main metabolites of benzene, toluene, 1,3-butadiene, 3-monochloropropanediol, styrene, and naphthol) and effect (oxidized products of nucleic acids). RESULTS: Biomarker concentrations were similar in subjects with IMI and controls even if a stronger correlation between biomarkers of exposure and effects were observed in SP. Data show that, both in SP and urine, most metabolites were inter-correlated, indicating a simultaneous co-exposure to the selected substances at the environmental level. Principal component analysis showed in SP the clustering of mercapturic acids indicating a preferential metabolic pathway with Glutathione (GSH) depletion and, consequently, an increase of oxidative stress. This result was also confirmed by multivariable analysis through the development of explanatory models for oxidized products of nucleic acids. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights how oxidative stress on the male reproductive tract can be associated with a different representation of metabolic pathways making the reproductive tract itself a target organ for different environmental pollutants. Our results demonstrate that SP is a suitable matrix to assess the exposure and evaluate the effects of reproductive toxicants in environmental/occupational medicine. The statistical approach proposed in this work represents a model appropriate to study the relationship between multiple exposure and effect, applicable even to a wider variety of chemicals.
The Relationship Between Widespread Pollution Exposure and Oxidized Products of Nucleic Acids in Seminal Plasma and Urine in Males Attending a Fertility Center / Poli, Diana; Andreoli, Roberta; Moscato, Lucia; Pelà, Giovanna; de Palma, Giuseppe; Cavallo, Delia; Petyx, Marta; Pelosi, Giorgio; Corradi, Massimo; Goldoni, Matteo. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH. - ISSN 1660-4601. - 17:6(2020), p. 1880. [10.3390/ijerph17061880]