Link between low-dose environmentally relevant cadmium exposures and asthenozoospermia in a rat model

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Abstract

Objective: To define the mechanism(s) underlying an association between asthenozoospermia and elevated blood, seminal plasma, and testicular cadmium levels in infertile human males using a rat model of environmentally relevant cadmium exposures. Setting: University medical center andrology research laboratory. Animal(s): Male Wistar rats (n = 60), documented to be sensitive to the testicular effects of cadmium. Intervention(s): Rats were given ad libitum access to water supplemented with 14% sucrose and 0 mg/L, 5 mg/L, 50 mg/L, or 100 mg/L cadmium for 1, 4, or 8 weeks beginning at puberty. Main Outcome Measure(s): Testicular cadmium levels were determined by atomic absorption, cauda epididymal sperm motility by visual inspection, and testicular gene expression by DNA microarray hybridization. Result(s): Chronic, low-dose cadmium exposures produced a time- and dose-dependent reduction in sperm motility. Transcription of genes regulated by calcium and expression of L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel mRNA splicing variants were altered by cadmium exposure. Expression of calcium binding proteins involved in modulation of sperm motility was unaffected. Conclusion(s): A causal relationship between elevated testicular cadmium and asthenozoospermia was identified. Aberrrant sperm motility was correlated with altered expression of L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel isoforms found on the sperm tail, which regulate calcium and cadmium influx. © 2008 American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

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Benoff, S., Auborn, K., Marmar, J. L., & Hurley, I. R. (2008, February). Link between low-dose environmentally relevant cadmium exposures and asthenozoospermia in a rat model. Fertility and Sterility. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.12.035

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