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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 177-183

The impact of the fine ambient particle on infertile male's sperm quality

1 Department of Urology, National Taiwan University Hospital; Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Cardinal Tien Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
2 Department of Urology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
3 Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Cardinal Tien Hospital; Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
4 Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Cardinal Tien Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Hong-Chiang Chang
No- 7, Zhongshang South Road, Department of Urology, National Taiwan University, Taipei City 100
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/UROS.UROS_6_19

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Introduction: Infertility has been a major problem for several years. Previously, infertility was often attributed to female factors. Recently, however, male factors have been found to contribute to 50% of the infertility cases overall. Male infertility is a multifactorial issue. A genetic disorder, abnormal endocrine system, structural anomaly, and environmental causes could lead to male infertility. Studies have revealed a link between fine air particles and decreased fertility. The aim of this study was to discover the effect of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), representing environmental fine particles, on male infertility. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively collected data from patients diagnosed as having infertility and visited National Taiwan University Hospital from January 2015 to October 2017. We recorded each patient's body weight, height, basic blood test, sperm analysis, and sex hormone profile. Air quality data, especially PM2.5 concentration, were acquired from the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan. A total of 78 monitoring stations throughout Taiwan record PM2.5 concentrations (μg/m3) each hour automatically. Multivariate linear regression was used to detect independent factors affecting sperm count, concentration, motility, and morphology and sex hormone profile. Results:We observed regional and seasonal differences in the distributions of PM2.5 concentrations. In nearly all cities in Taiwan, the PM2.5 concentrations increased during early winter and continued to increase until next spring, with a peak around January and February. In particular, regional differences were observed in winter. The peak PM2.5 concentrations in southern and northern cities in Taiwan ranged between 35 and 40 μg/m3 and between 18 and 23 μg/m3, respectively. PM2.5 in central Taiwan reached as high as 30 μL/m3. By contrast, the eastern part of Taiwan had the lowest peak PM2.5, which was mostly <15 μg/m3. The average 24-month PM2.5 concentration had a negative effect on sperm count, but the result was nonsignificant. Additionally, the effect of PM2.5 on sperm motility and morphology was minimal. Conclusion: In infertile Taiwanese men, there is a trend of a negative association between exposure to PM2.5 and sperm concentration and total sperm count. Exposure to ambient fine particles, especially PM2.5, might have a negative correlation with sperm quality, sex hormone balance, and the testicular microenvironment through different mechanisms.

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