Impact of Seminal Lead and Cadmium on Fertility Capacity of Males with Idiopathic Oligoasthenoteratoozoospermia

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology; Assiut University, Egypt

2 Department of Dermatology and Andrology; Assiut University, Egypt

3 Department of Clinical Pathology; Assiut University, Egypt

4 Department of Andrology, Venereology and Sexology, Assiut University, Egypt

5 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt

6 Department of Andrology and Sexology, Cairo University, Egypt


The aim of this study was to evaluate lead and cadmium levels in seminal plasma of men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratoozoospermia in comparison to fertile healthy controls and to correlate these levels with conventional semen parameters, sperm hypo-osmotic swelling (HOS) percentage, sperm DNA fragmentation percentage, and semen reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. Sixty infertile male patients with idiopathic oligo and/or asthenoteratoozoospermia and sixty healthy fertile men (control group) were included in the study. Lead and cadmium levels in seminal plasma, semen parameters, sperm HOS, sperm DNA fragmentation percentage and semen ROS assay were measured in all subjects. There was a significant increase in seminal lead and cadmium levels among infertile males in comparison to controls. There were significant negative correlations between seminal lead and cadmium levels on one hand and certain semen parameters especially progressive sperm motility and vitality (HOS).  Importantly, significant positive correlations were noted between seminal lead and cadmium levels on one hand and sperm DNA fragmentation percentage and semen ROS level in infertile men and controls on the other hand. Thus, men with idiopathic male infertility had higher levels of lead and cadmium in their semen which correlated with impairment of sperm motility and vitality percentages and more importantly with higher sperm DNA fragmentation% and semen ROS level.