Two studies highlight the damage done by smoking on fertility. I learned of these studies from BioNews (click here for the link to the article). Everyone knows that smoking is generally harmful, but how it harms fertility is confusing.
In this article, the authors show data that the proteins that compact the DNA is diminished in smokers and this effect could allow more DNA damage from external forces. The exact effect of smoking on male fertility remains controversial. Message: smoking may lead to increased sperm DNA damage and reduced potential for normal embryos.
In the the other article (Click here for other post.), the study suggests a mechanism whereby the mother’s smoking habit can impair the development of sperm in the growing embryo/fetus. Message: pregnant mothers should not smoke – nothing new but another reason for not smoking.
There are many health reasons not to smoke, but men with fertility problems should pay close attention to this and similar data.
Protamine contents and P1/P2 ratio in human spermatozoa from smokers and non-smokers
Hum. Reprod. (2010) doi: 10.1093/humrep/deq226 First published online: September 7, 2010
Protamine (two forms – P1 & P2) content is necessary for proper sperm DNA condensation and subsequent male fertility. The exact effect of smoking on male fertility remains controversial. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of smoking on protamine content of sperm in smoker and non-smoker patients.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to evaluate the effect of smoking on protamines. Abnormal elevation of the P1/P2 ratio appears to be associated with decreased P2 expression in smokers. These results suggest that induced oxidative stress by cigarette smoking may have a significant inverse effect on the protamination process by disrupting P2.