Effect of smoking on the functional aspects of sperm and seminal plasma protein profiles in patients with varicocele

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Fariello, Roberta Maria [UNIFESP]
Pariz, Juliana Risso [UNIFESP]
Spaine, Deborah Montagnini [UNIFESP]
Gozzo, Fabio Cesar
Pilau, Eduardo Jorge
Fraietta, Renato [UNIFESP]
Bertolla, Ricardo Pimenta [UNIFESP]
Andreoni, Cassio [UNIFESP]
Cedenho, Agnaldo Pereira [UNIFESP]
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What are the effects of smoking on the functional aspects of the sperm, the levels of lipid peroxidation and the protein profile of seminal plasma in patients with varicocele?In men with varicocele, smoking is associated with altered semen quality, decreased sperm functional integrity and seminal oxidative stress. Alterations in seminal plasma protein profiles are also present and may explain the altered semen phenotype.Varicocele is a major cause of male infertility. It reduces testicular blood renewal with a consequent accumulation of toxic substances. Thus, it can potentiate the toxic effects of environmental exposure to genotoxic substances such as those found in cigarette smoke.A cross-sectional study was performed in 110 patients presenting with variococele to the Human Reproduction Section of the São Paulo Federal University (20062010). the patients were divided into a control group of non-smokers, a moderate smokers group and a heavy smokers group.Semen parameters were analysed by standard methods. Sperm DNA integrity and mitochondrial activity were assessed by Comet assays and by 3,3-diaminobenzidine deposition, respectively. the level of lipid peroxidation in semen was determined by malondialdehyde quantification. Proteomic studies were performed by 2D-electrophoresis and mass spectrometry.Both groups of smokers showed reduced semen quality in comparison with the control group. in the groups of smokers, sperm DNA integrity and mitochondrial activity were also decreased and lipid peroxidation levels were increased. Proteomic analyses revealed 20 proteins differentially expressed between the study groups.A study including smokers without varicocele is still warranted as these results apply only to smokers who present varicocele.Patients with varicocele who are exposed to tobacco smoking present more important alterations to semen quality and sperm functional integrity and show changes in the seminal plasma proteome. This suggests testicular, and possibly systemic, adverse effects of smoking.Funding for the study was provided by Fundao de Amparo Pesquisa do Estado de So Paulo (Fapesp) (2007/59423-7) and by the Division of Urology, Human Reproduction Section at the So Paulo Federal University.
Human Reproduction. Oxford: Oxford Univ Press, v. 27, n. 11, p. 3140-3149, 2012.