Relationships between sperm DNA fragmentation, sperm apoptotic markers and serum levels of CB-153 and p,p '-DDE in European and Inuit populations

A. Stronati, G. C. Manicardi, M. Cecati, M. Bordicchia, L. Ferrante, M. Spano, G. Toft, J. P. Bonde, Bo A Jönsson, Anna Rignell-Hydbom, Lars Rylander, Aleksander Giwercman, H. S. Pedersen, E. C. Bonefeld-Jorgensen, J. K. Ludwicki, V. Lesovoy, D. Sakkas, D. Bizzaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (SciVal)


Persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) are suspected to interfere with hormone activity and the normal homeostasis of spermatogenesis. We investigated the relationships between sperm DNA fragmentation, apoptotic markers identified on ejaculated spermatozoa and POP levels in the blood of 652 adult males (200 Inuits from Greenland, 166 Swedish, 134 Polish and 152 Ukrainian). Serum levels of 2, 2', 4, 4', 5, 5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153), as a proxy of the total POP burden, and of 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE), as a proxy of the total DDT exposure were determined. Sperm DNA fragmentation was measured by using the TUNEL assay, whereas immunofluorescence methods were utilized for detecting proapoptotic (Fas) and anti-apoptotic (Bcl-xL) markers. Both TUNEL assay and apoptotic markers were statistically differed across the four populations. No correlation between neither sperm DNA fragmentation nor apoptotic sperm parameters and the large variations in POPs exposure was observed for the separate study groups. However, considering the European populations taken together, we showed that both %TUNEL positivity and Bcl-xL were related to CB-153 serum levels, whereas our study failed to demonstrate any relations between DDE and %TUNEL positivity and apoptotic sperm biomarkers (Fas and Bcl-xL) in any region or overall regions. These results suggest that CB-153 and related chemicals might alter sperm DNA integrity and Bcl-xL levels in European adult males, but not in the highly exposed Inuit men. Additional issues (genetic background, lifestyle habits and characterization of total xeno-hormonal activities) need to he investigated in order to fully assess the population variations observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-958
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


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