Current mechanistic perspectives on male reproductive toxicity induced by heavy metals


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.