Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Endocrine disruptors impair human sperm function, research finds

Date:
May 12, 2014
Source:
EMBO - excellence in life sciences
Summary:
A plethora of endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with human sperm function in a way that may have a negative impact on fertilization, according to new research. The work suggests that endocrine disruptors may contribute to widespread fertility problems in the Western world in a way that hitherto has not been recognized.

Illustration of sperm (stock image). A plethora of endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with human sperm function in a way that may have a negative impact on fertilization.
Credit: © idambeer / Fotolia

A plethora of endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with human sperm function in a way that may have a negative impact on fertilization. These are the findings of a German -- Danish team of researchers from the Center of Advanced European Studies and Research in Bonn, Germany, and the University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark. The work, which is published in EMBO reports, suggests that endocrine disruptors may contribute to widespread fertility problems in the Western world in a way that hitherto has not been recognized.

Related Articles


Endocrine disruptors are present in food, textiles, drugs, household, and personal-care products such as plastic bottles, toys, and cosmetics. Proving the deleterious effects of endocrine disruptors on human beings has been difficult due to a lack of suitable experimental systems.

The European Commission is currently reviewing its policy on endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Last year, their plans caused a debate between endocrinologists and a group of toxicologists over how to regulate these chemicals. "Our study provides scientific evidence to assist forming international rules and practices," said the leader of the study, Timo Strünker, from the Center of Advanced European Studies and Research in Bonn, Germany.

"For the first time, we have shown a direct link between exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals from industrial products and adverse effects on human sperm function,'' said Niels E. Skakkebaek, professor and leader of the Danish team.

Hundreds to thousands of chemicals can be rapidly tested for their potential to interfere with human sperm function using the bioassay developed by the researchers. In this initial study, about one hundred chemicals were tested. Around one third, including ultraviolet (UV) filters like 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) used in some sunscreens, the anti-bacterial agent Triclosan used in toothpaste, and di-n-butylphthalate (DnBP), showed adverse actions.

The scientists looked at the impact of these chemicals on the CatSper ion channel, a calcium channel controlling sperm motility. They showed that endocrine disruptors -- applied at concentrations measured in body fluids -- directly open CatSper and, thereby, increase calcium levels in sperm, change their swimming behavior, and trigger the release of digestive enzymes that help sperm to break through the egg coat. Moreover, endocrine disruptors render sperm less sensitive for progesterone and prostaglandins -- two important hormones released by cells surrounding the egg. Finally, the authors noted that in low-dose mixtures, the chemicals cooperate to elevate calcium levels in sperm.

Altogether, the study indicates that endocrine disruptors might disturb the precisely coordinated sequence of events underlying fertilization in several ways: the chemicals might evoke changes in swimming behaviour at the wrong time and wrong place, hinder navigation of sperm towards the egg, and hamper penetration into the protective egg coat.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by EMBO - excellence in life sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Schiffer C, Müller A, Egeberg DL, Brenker C, Rehfeld A, Frederiksen H, Wäschle B, Kaupp UB, Balbach M, Wachten D, Skakkebaek NE, Almstrup K, Strünker T. Direct action of endocrine disrupting chemicals on human sperm. EMBOreports, 2014 DOI: 10.15252/embr.201438869

Cite This Page:

EMBO - excellence in life sciences. "Endocrine disruptors impair human sperm function, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512101410.htm>.
EMBO - excellence in life sciences. (2014, May 12). Endocrine disruptors impair human sperm function, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512101410.htm
EMBO - excellence in life sciences. "Endocrine disruptors impair human sperm function, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512101410.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins