Air pollution in Milan and sperm quality an in vitro study

V. Giannerini, F. Cetta, E. Moretti, C. Castellini, M. Camatini, E. Bolzacchini, M. Geminiani, A. Dhamo, F. Tani, G. Collodel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study has been to investigate in vitro whether environmental pollution, and in particular samples of PM10 and PM 2,5 from Milan. may affect human and/or rabbit sperm quality. Treatment with PM2,5 at concentration of 10, 50 and 75 μg/dl did not show evident damage in rabbit spermatozoa when the samples were incubated for 4 and 6 hrs. On the contrary, 50 μg/dl caused in human samples a decrease in progressive motility and an increase in the percentage of necrosis and apoptosis. Samples from patients with abnormal semen parameters (varicocele) showed even worse semen quality. Therefore, present data "in vitro" show a progressively greater damage to the reproductive function, passing from rabbit sperm to normal human sperm, and to sperm from men with altered semen. Sperm alterations and PM related damage to reproductive function, because of their easier evaluation - in comparison to other functions - by semiquantitative analysis, could be a suitable model to make comparison of health damage among various types and/or concentrations of pollutants and/or various types of hosts. This could be of importance for a better definition of the relative impact of both (intrinsic toxicity of pollutants and host susceptibility reactivity) in the occurrence of the final clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-410
Number of pages6
JournalGIMT - Giornale Italiano delle Malattie del Torace
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • In vitro study
  • PM
  • PM
  • Rabbit
  • Sperm quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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