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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 Feb;24(4):3298-3314. doi: 10.1007/s11356-016-7960-y. Epub 2016 Nov 8.

An updated systematic review on the possible effect of nonylphenol on male fertility.

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Environmental Technologies Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
Student Research Committee, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
PhD in Molecular Medicine, Health Research Institute, Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathies Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.


Diverse industries like detergents, resins and polymers, hair dyes, intravaginal spermicides, and pesticides produce endocrine disruptor (ED)-containing wastewaters that have hazardous effects on the environment and public health. Nonylphenol (NP) is a chemical substance that consists of a phenolic group and an attached lipophilic linear nonyl chain. NP has weak estrogenic activity and affects estrogen receptor (ER), as well as induces male infertility via a negative impact on spermatogenesis and sperm quality. The aim of this study was to comprehensively review all available literature about the side effects of NP on the male genital system. We systematically searched Scopus and PubMed using MeSH terms that include "Organic Chemicals," "Infertility," "Infertility, Male," "Nonylphenol", ("Infertility, Male"[Mesh]) OR "Nonylphenol" [Supplementary Concept]) OR "Prostate"[Mesh]) OR "Spermatozoa"[Mesh]) OR "Sertoli Cells"[Mesh]) OR "Leydig Cells"[Mesh] OR "Male accessory gland" OR "Epididym" OR "Reproductive toxicity"), and all other possible combinations from January 1, 1970, to September 15, 2016, with language limit. The initial search identified 117,742 potentially eligible studies, of which 33 met the established inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Thirty-three selected studies include animal model (n = 18), cell line (n = 15), human model (n = 1), morphology (n = 13), sperm quality (n = 17), and toxicity (n = 14). This review highlighted the evidence for the ED effect of NP that acts through interference with ER, discussing male reproductive tract perturbations. We critically discuss the available evidence on the effect of NP on sperm quality (such as motility, viability, sperm count, and sperm concentration), dramatic morphological changes (such as change of weights of testes and epididymis), and biochemical changes related to oxidative stress in testes. Finally, it is important to take caution with the continued use of NP that disrupts male reproductive health.


Endocrine disruptor; Environmental toxicant; Male infertility; Nonylphenol

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