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Aims: The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between blood hormonal profile and trace metal contents of blood and semen in men with infertility.
Study Design: This was a case-control study conducted using 33 male participants. Cases comprised of male patients presenting with infertility and the controls comprised apparently healthy males without any history of fertility problems.
Place and Duration of Study: University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Methodology: Ten millilitres of venous blood samples were collected for the determination of trace metals and male reproductive hormones using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Atomic absorption spectrophotometry measurement of the trace elements concentration in plasma samples was done. All analyses were performed using standard laboratory procedures while data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20.0.
Results: No significant difference was observed between the dietary history and lifestyle factors between these two groups. There was no significant difference in median cadmium and zinc between cases and controls. Median seminal plasma Zn concentration was significantly lower than controls. The median FSH of infertile men was significantly higher than that of fertile controls.
Conclusion: There was no significant difference in the toxic trace metal content of both serum and seminal plasma between cases and controls possibly because of the similarity in their sociodemographic and environmental characteristics. There was a significant difference in the essential trace metals of both serum and seminal plasma between cases and controls. Oxidative stress due to other factors other than Pb and Cd may be a possible contributory factor to infertility as indicated by similar levels of these metals in both cases and controls and a significantly reduced level of the essential trace metals which are important components of the antioxidant enzyme system in the body.