Semen quality in Peruvian pesticide applicators: association between urinary organophosphate metabolites and semen parameters
The objective of this study was to determine the physical, chemical and cytomorphologic characteristics of semen obtained from workers exposed to cholinesterase inhibitor insecticides and compare them with samples of the same nature obtained from unexposed subjects, and in addition, to correlate those findings with blood levels of cholinesterase. The study group consisted of 29 adult males, age range 20-54, that were exposed to cholinesterase inhibitor insecticides during 4 hours per day for a variable lapse (one year minimum), whereas the control group consisted of 30 unexposed individuals of the same gender, and similar age range. A thorough medical examination was performed in every individual. It consisted of an occupational medical history and complete physical exam. A blood sample was obtained in all the subjects in order to determine total cholinesterase levels by the modified S. Hestrin Hydroxamate method. Semen analysis was done in specimens collected after recent masturbation following a 3-day abstinence period. The data was processed and analyzed by the SAS computerized statistics program. The results revealed significant differences between both groups (p < 0.05) for the following variables: sperm count per mL., percentage of fast, mobile and immobile, live and dead spermatozoids. Spermatozoa morphology was found to be within normal limits as established by the WHO. Nevertheless, the differences related to the percentage of big head and amorphous spermatozoids was significant (p < 0.05). The results indicate that cholinesterase inhibitor insecticides affect certain variables of the semen analysis and hence the quality of the semen.