Current mechanistic perspectives on male reproductive toxicity induced by heavy metals

2020-07-10

Environmental and occupational exposures to heavy metals have led to various deleterious damages to the biological system of which infertility is one of them. Infertility is a global public health concern, affecting 15% of all couples of reproductive age. Out of the 100% cases of reported infertility among couples, 40% of the cases are related to male factors; including decreased semen quality. This review focuses on the recent mechanistic perspectives of heavy metal-induced male reproductive toxicity. The associated toxic metal-mediated mechanisms of male reproductive toxicity include ion mimicry, disruption of cell signaling pathways, oxidative stress, altered gene expression, epigenetic regulation of gene expression, apoptosis, disruption of testis/blood barrier, inflammation and endocrine disruption. The current literature suggests that non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) mediate paternal intergenerational epigenetic inheritance and thus has a direct functional importance, as well as possess novel biomarker potential, for male reproductive toxicity. To identify the specific ncRNAs with the most profound impacts on heavy metal-induced male reproductive toxicity should be thrust of further research.

Authors: Brilliance Onyinyechi Anyanwu, Orish Ebere Orisakwe
; Full Source: Journal of environmental science and health. Part C, Toxicology and carcinogenesis 2020 Jul 10;1-41. doi: 10.1080/26896583.2020.1782116.