How air pollution reduces sperm count, show researchers

About 92 per cent of the world population lives in areas where the level of fine particles in the air smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter exceed the minimum safety standards set by the WHO

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NH Web Desk

The researchers of University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have shown how air pollution reduces sperm count by causing inflammation in the brain.

The research finding of this study was published in the journal 'Environmental Health Perspectives'.

According to a report in NDTV, Scientists already know that the brain has a direct line to the reproductive organs affecting fertility and sperm count under stressful conditions. For example, emotional stress can lead to skipped menstrual periods in women. However, this latest study connects the dots on how breathing polluted air can lower fertility.

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Lead study author Zhekang Ying, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at UMSOM said, "Our findings showed that the damage due to air pollution -- at least to the sperm count -- could be remedied by removing a single inflammation marker in the brains of mice, suggesting that we may be able to develop therapies that could prevent or reverse the damaging effects of air pollution on fertility."


Charles Hong, MD, PhD, the Melvin Sharoky, MD Professor in Medicine and Director of Cardiology Research at UMSOM said, "These findings have wider implications than just fertility, as there are many conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease that can result from brain inflammation due to air pollution."

About 92 per cent of the world population lives in areas where the level of fine particles in the air smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter exceed the minimum safety standards set by the World Health Organisation. These particles can come from sources such as car exhaust, factory emissions, wildfires, and woodburning stoves.

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