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Potential role of cadmium in varicocele-associated infertility and its relation to smoking

F Badran
T Hussein
M Shawki
W Abdullah


Objectives: to study the possible role of cadmium in varicocele-associated infertility and its relation to smoking. Patients: the study was performed on twenty infertile men with clinically evident varicocele (grade II & III); half of them were smokers. In addition to another twenty fertile men without clinical varicocele and with normal semen parameters served as a control; half of them were smokers Methods: measuring Cadmium level in the seminal plasma using the atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Results: Statistically significant observed differences in seminal parameters between the studied cases and their control regarding decreased sperm concentration and motility, in addition to increased abnormal sperm morphology among cases (P=0.0001, 0.0001 and 0.02 respectively). A statistically significant high level of cadmium is demonstrated in seminal plasma of non smoking cases as compared with their non smoking control (p<0.0001), and in seminal plasma of smoking control in comparison to non smoking control (p<0.002). Moreover, the level of cadmium detected in seminal plasma of infertile smokers was higher than that of smoking control (P=0.001). Partial correlation between cadmium and seminal parameters of the studied cases and control, in the present study, revealed that cadmium is correlated with sperm concentration and motility even after adjustment for smoking, non smoker/ even smoker, (P=0.009 and 0.003 respectively). Conclusions: the current study supports that environmental exposure to cadmium leads to its accumulation in seminal plasma of patients with varicocele-associated infertility. High level of cadmium is associated with impairment of seminal parameters. In addition, cigarette smoking exacerbates the detrimental effect of varicocele on semen quality and the fertility potential by more accumulation of cadmium in seminal plasma.

Key Words: cadmium; varicocele, infertility; smoking