Sperm DNA damage—the effect of stress and everyday life factors

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Abstract

The clinical significance of sperm DNA damage lies in its association with natural conception rates and also might have a serious consequence on developmental outcome of the newborn. The aim of the present study is to determine whether stress and everyday life factors are associated with sperm DNA damage in adult men. The study population consisted of 286 men who attended the infertility clinic for diagnostic purposes and who had normal semen concentration of 20-300 m ml-1 or with slight oligozoospermia (semen concentration of 15-20 m ml-1) (WHO, 1999). Participants were interviewed and provided a semen sample. The sperm chromatin structure assay was assessed using flow cytometry. In the present study, we found evidence for a relationship between sperm DNA damage parameters and everyday life factors. High and medium level of occupational stress and age increase DNA fragmentation index (P = 0.03, P = 0.004 and P = 0.03, respectively). Other lifestyle factors that were positively associated with percentage of immature sperms (high DNA stainability index) included: obesity and cell phone use for more than 10 years (P = 0.02 and P = 0.04, respectively). Our findings indicate that stress and lifestyle factor may affect sperm DNA damage. Data from the present study showed a significant effect of age, obesity, mobile phone radiation and occupational stress on sperm DNA damage. As DNA fragmentation represents an extremely important parameter indicative of infertility and potential outcome of assisted reproduction treatment, and most of the lifestyle factors are easily modifiable, the information about factors that may affect DNA damage are important.

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