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Clin Biochem. 2008 Oct;41(14-15):1199-203. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2008.07.013. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

The influence of smoking on semen quality, seminal microelements and Ca2+-ATPase activity among infertile and fertile men.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box: 80203 Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia.



Tobacco smoking is now increasing rapidly throughout the developing world and is one of the biggest threats to current and future world health. Several studies have addressed the role of cigarette smoking on semen quality, but the exact mechanisms remain inconclusive. In order to evaluate the detrimental effects of smoking on semen quality among Saudi subjects, the levels of different seminal parameters in smokers were compared to non-smokers.


A total of 159 semen samples (61 smokers and 98 non-smokers) from men attending an infertility clinic for routine infertility workup were sub-grouped into fertile or infertile and were compared based on standard semen analysis (according to WHO guidelines), content of metals (magnesium, zinc and cadmium) and plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase activity of sperms.


Cadmium concentration was found significantly higher in smokers than in non-smokers either in fertile or infertile group (2.9+/-0.4 vs 1.4+/-0.7; 2.9+/-0.5 vs 1.3+/-0.7 microg L(-1); respectively). Together with this increase in seminal Cd a significant decrease in Ca(2+)-ATPase activity (21.5+/-2.8 vs 33.71+/-1.2; 20.7+/-1.5 vs 35.07+/-2.9 mmol min(-1) mg(-1) protein, p<0.05), decrease in seminal zinc (109.8+/-8.1 vs 189.7+/-9.9 mg L(-1), p<0.01) and decrease in sperm motility (41.9%+/-2.9 vs 46.01%+/-2.5; 9.8%+/-2.4 vs 15.3%+/-2.7, p<0.05) were found.


Our data demonstrate that cigarette smoking affects both Ca(2+)-ATPase activity and motility of the spermatozoa. These effects may be attributed to increased seminal cadmium and reduced zinc concentrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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