The Valley of Sacco River (VSR) (Latium, Italy) is an area with large-scale industrial chemical production that has led over time to significant contamination of soil and groundwater with various industrial pollutants, such as organic pesticides, dioxins, organic solvents, heavy metals, and particularly, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In the present study, we investigated the potential impact of VOCs on the spermatozoa of healthy young males living in the VSR, given the prevalent presence of several VOCs in the semen of these individuals. To accomplish this, spermiograms were conducted followed by molecular analyses to assess the content of sperm nuclear basic proteins (SNBPs) in addition to the protamine-histone ratio and DNA binding of these proteins. We found drastic alterations in the spermatozoa of these young males living in the VSR. Alterations were seen in sperm morphology, sperm motility, sperm count, and protamine/histone ratios, and included significant reductions in SNBP–DNA binding capacity. Our results provide preliminary indications of a possible correlation between the observed alterations and the presence of specific VOCs.
3 Sep 2022
Volume: 19 Issue: 17 Pages: 11023
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health