Nicotine, Cotinine, and trans-3-Hydroxycotine Levels in Seminal Plasma of Smokers: Effects on Sperm Parameters

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Sperm samples from 44 cigarette smokers and 50 nonsmokers attending an infertility clinic were examined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) assay and HPLC-mass spectrometry for the presence of nicotine (NIC), cotinine (COT), and trans-3‘-hydroxycotinine (THOC) in seminal plasma. Smokers were found to have levels of COT and THOC in seminal plasma that were similar to those found in serum. The level of NIC was significantly increased in seminal plasma compared to serum. Total motility of spermatozoa was significantly and negatively correlated to COT and THOC levels in seminal plasma. Forward motility of spermatozoa was correlated only with cotinine semen levels. On the basis of these results, we suggest that the presence of tobacco smoke constituents in seminal plasma could provide a warning of the adverse effects of cigarette smoke on the physiology of reproduction.

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