The effect of cigarette smoking on spermatozoal parameters was studied in 40 known cigarette smokers and 40 non-smokers by evaluating sperm parameters, semen and serum levels of cadmium, zinc, copper, selenium and magnesium, circulating antisperm antibodies, and FSH, LH, prolactin and testosterone. Non-smokers and light smokers had better sperm parameters than heavy smokers as indicated by the sperm count (p < 0.03), active motility (p < 0.03), asthenozoospermia (p < 0.05), and positive hypo-osmotic swelling (p < 0.05) tests. The number of smokers with higher titres of circulating antisperm antibodies was larger than that of non-smokers (≥1:128; p < 0.01). Serum testosterone level was higher in non-smokers (18.4 ± 2.1 pmol/l) than in smokers (14.3 ± 2.5 pmol/l; p < 0.05). Cadmium levels were higher in the semen and serum of smokers (p < 0.05) when compared to non-smokers (p = 0.05). Cigarette smoking impairs fertility through the putative effect of cadmium in causing testicular endothelial injury and production of antisperm antibodies.

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