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    Despite the association between tobacco use and the harmful effects on general health as well as male fertility parameters, smoking remains globally prevalent. The main content of tobacco smoke is nicotine and its metabolite cotinine. These compounds can pass the blood-testis barrier, which subsequently causes harm of diverse degree to the germ cells. Although controversial, smoking has been shown to cause not only a decrease in sperm motility, sperm concentration, and an increase in abnormal sperm morphology, but also genetic and epigenetic aberrations in spermatozoa. Both animal and human studies have highlighted the occurrence of sperm DNA-strand breaks (fragmentation), genome instability, genetic mutations, and the presence of aneuploids in the germline of animals and men exposed to tobacco smoke. The question to be asked at this point is, if smoking has the potential to cause all these genetic aberrations, what is the extent of damage? Hence, this review aimed to provide evidence that smoking has a mutagenic effect on sperm and how this subsequently affects male fertility. Additionally, the role of tobacco smoke as an aneugen will be explored. We furthermore aim to incorporate the epidemiological aspects of the aforementioned and provide a holistic approach to the topic. © 2021. The Author(s).


    Temidayo S Omolaoye, Omar El Shahawy, Bongekile T Skosana, Thomas Boillat, Tom Loney, Stefan S du Plessis. The mutagenic effect of tobacco smoke on male fertility. Environmental science and pollution research international. 2022 Sep;29(41):62055-62066

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    PMID: 34536221

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