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September 12, 2010 - Two new studies provide evidence that smoking can harm sperm - both in smoking men who may become fathers, and in sons born to women who smoked during pregnancy. The research also suggests that both men and women who hope to conceive should kick the habit.
PAPER: Protamine contents and P1/P2 ratio in human spermatozoa from smokers and non-smokers, ME Hammadeh (email@example.com), MF Hamad1, M Montenarh and C Fischer-Hammadeh, Human Reproduction - first published online: September 7, 2010, ABSTRACT..
PAPER: Cigarette smoking during early pregnancy reduces the number of embryonic germ and somatic cells, L.S. Mamsen1, M.C. Lutterodt1, E.W. Andersen, S.O. Skouby, K.P. Sørensen1, C.Yding Andersen1, and A.G. Byskov, Human Reproduction - first published online: September 7, 2010, ABSTRACT..
Dr. Mohamed E. Hammadeh, head of the assisted reproductive laboratory in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of the Saarland in Saar, Germany, "The results of the present study suggest a negative biological effect of smoking on spermatozoa DNA integrity," said the lead author of one study. Research by Hammadeh and his colleagues showed that men who smoke heavily may experience fertility problems stemming from a drop in levels of a protein crucial to sperm development, as well as damage to sperm's DNA.
Another study suggests that women who smoke early in their pregnancy may ultimately compromise their sons' reproductive health. This study was led by Dr. Claus Yding Andersen, a professor of human reproductive physiology at the University Hospital of Copenhagen in Denmark. It focused on the impact of maternal smoking during the first trimester of pregnancy upon the development of the male fetus.
In this case, the authors analyzed tissue from the testes of 24 embryos that had been aborted between 37 and 68 days following conception. After classifying the prospective mothers according to smoking habits, the research team found that the number of so-called "germ cells" -- cells that develop into sperm in males and eggs in females -- were 55 percent lower in the testes of embryos obtained from women who smoked. This observation held regardless of the mother's alcohol and coffee consumption habits.
Based on these findings early in fetal growth, Anderson and his colleagues conclude that the apparent impact of smoking on cellular production might continue in male offspring carried to term. And that could mean a higher risk of impaired fertility in sons.
Anderson: "Our results provide health care professionals who talk to women who are considering conceiving, or have conceived just recently, with a 'here and now' argument to convince them to stop smoking. Because the negative effect of smoking appears to take place right from conception and during the early days [of gestation], when the human embryo becomes differentiated into either a girl or a boy."
Reference: Smoking Could Harm Sperm, Study Finds by Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter, HealthDay, 9/9/2010.
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