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Mol Reprod Dev. 2008 Apr;75(4):669-80.

Xenobiotic activity in serum and sperm chromatin integrity in European and inuit populations.

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  • 1Institute of Public Health, Unit of Cellular and Molecular Toxicology, Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


Lipophilic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are ubiquitous in the environment and suspected to interfere with hormone activities and reproduction. In previous studies we demonstrated that POP exposure can affect sperm DNA integrity and differences between Inuits and Europeans in sperm DNA integrity and xenobiotic activity were observed. The aim of this study was to investigate possible relations between human sperm chromatin integrity and the xenobiotic serum activity of lipophilic POPs assessed as effects on the estrogen (ER), androgen (AR), and/or aryl hydrocarbon (AhR) receptors. Human sperm chromatin integrity was assessed as DNA fragmentation index (%DFI) and high DNA stainability (%HDS) using the flow cytometric sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA). Xenobiotic receptor activities were determined using chemically activated luciferase gene expression (CALUX) assay. The study included 53 Greenlandic Inuits and 247 Europeans (Sweden, Warsaw (Poland) and Kharkiv (Ukraine)). A heterogeneous pattern of correlations was found. For Inuits, ER and AhR activities and %DFI were inversely correlated, whereas a positive correlation between AR activity and %DFI was found for Europeans. In contrast, no correlation between receptor activities and %HDS was observed for Inuits but for Europeans positive and negative correlations were observed between ER and AR activities and %HDS, respectively. We suggest that the different patterns of xenobiotic serum activities, in combination with diet associated factors and/or genetics, might be connected to the observed differences in sperm chromatin integrity between the Inuits and Europeans.

(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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