In men from the general population, BMI has been associated with a lower sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI). We wondered whether this could be due to estradiol, which is associated with BMI and reported important for sperm function. Our objective was to investigate the association between estradiol and DFI. In 2008–2010, we recruited 284 young men from the general population to deliver samples of semen and blood and answer questionnaires. Serum concentrations of reproductive hormones and DFI were analyzed, the latter using the Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay. Associations were studied using general linear models. The first model utilized metric values of estradiol, whereas the second model compared men with high and low levels, dichotomized by the median value. A possible interaction between estradiol and testosterone was also examined. When investigating metric estradiol levels and DFI, an inverse association was seen without adjustments (p =.02), but the statistical significance was lost at adjustments for potential confounders (p =.08). Men with lower estradiol levels (<88 pmol/L, mean 71 pmol/L) had a statistically significantly higher DFI than men with higher levels of estradiol (≥88 pmol/L, mean 110 pmol/L). Mean ratio difference was 1.21 (p =.002) without adjustments and 1.18 (p =.01) with adjustments. A statistically significant difference in DFI was observed in men with testosterone levels below median when comparing high and low estradiol (p <.001). This study supports the idea that serum estradiol levels are protective for sperm DNA integrity, at least at lower testosterone levels.
- Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin
- Reproduktionsmedicin och gynekologi