Assessment of Organophosphate Pesticides Exposure in Men with Idiopathic Abnormal Semen Analysis: A Cross-Sectional Pilot Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biochemis try, Jawaharlal Ins titute of Pos tgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry, India

2 Department of Obs tetrics and Gynecology, Jawaharlal Ins titute of Pos tgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry, India

3 Department of Pathology, Jawaharlal Ins titute of Pos tgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry, India


Because of the widespread use of organophosphate (OP) pesticides in agriculture, they are major environmental contaminants in developing countries. OP pesticides decrease sperm concentration and affect its quality, viability, and motility. Studies have demonstrated the association between abnormal semen analysis and OP pesticides exposure among the high-risk population. Asthere is limited data on the percentage of OP pesticides exposure, the study aimed to determine the OP pesticides exposure in Southern Indian men with idiopathic abnormal semen analysis and find the possible source of their OP pesticides exposure.
Materials and Methods:
 In this cross-sectional pilot study, fifty men with idiopathic abnormal semen analysis as cases and fifty men with normal semen analysis as controls were recruited. Detailed history wastaken and general and systemic examinations were carried out. OP pesticides exposure was determined by assessment of pseudocholinesterase and acetylcholinesterase levels and urinary OP pesticides metabolites dialkyl phosphate (DAP) consisting of dimethyl phosphate (DMP), diethyl thiophosphate (DETP), and diethyl dithiophosphate (DEDTP).
 Cases had statistically significantly lower levels of pseudocholinesterase (5792.07 ± 1969.89 vs. 10267.01 ± 3258.58 IU/L) (P=0.006) and acetylcholinesterase [102.90 (45.88-262.74) vs. 570.31 (200.24-975.30) IU/L] (P=0.001) as compared to controls. Cases had a statistically significantly higher percentage of urinary DAP positivity as compared to controls (80 vs. 38%) (p <0.0001). Hence, cases had a significantly higher percentage of OP pesticides exposure as compared to controls (20 vs. 4 %) (P=0.015). OP-exposed cases had significantly higher urinary DETP and DEDTP levels as compared to OP non-exposed cases. Also, urinary DETP and DEDTP levels were significantly negatively associated with sperm concentration, motility, and normal morphology among OP-exposed cases.
Conclusion: Southern Indian men with idiopathic abnormal semen analysis had a significantly higher percentage of OP pesticides exposure as compared to men with a normal semen analysis.


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