Semen quality and reproductive endocrinal function related to blood lead levels in infertile painters

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Lead causes male reproductive impairment among painters, but information is still limited. Therefore, the effect of lead on semen quality and reproductive endocrinal function in those patients was investigated. A case series of 27 infertile painters were subjected to semen analysis, measuring of blood lead level (PbB) and serum levels of endocrinal parameters including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH), testosterone (T) and prolactin (PRL). Significantly lower sperm count and motility were found in those with duration of exposure (≥15 years), but no significant difference was found for PbB and serum levels of FSH, LH, PRL and T. A significant negative correlation between PbB and spermatic count and motility was observed, while there was no significant correlation between PbB and all endocrinal parameters. Patients with PbB ≥20 μg dl−1 showed a significant decrease in sperm motility and increase in testosterone alone among all measured hormones. But the observed decrease in sperm count did not reach a significant level. It is concluded that infertile painters are at risk of lead-related influence on semen quality, especially sperm motility and increased testosterone level without significant affection of other reproductive endocrinal parameters.

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