Mediation of association between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure and semen quality by spermatogenesis-related microRNAs: A pilot study in an infertility clinic.


School of Environment, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and Health, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 510632, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Spermatogenesis-related microRNAs (miRNAs) are vulnerable to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Changes in spermatogenesis-related miRNAs may be biological intermedia in mechanisms linking PAHs and semen quality. This study aimed to investigate whether spermatogenesis-related microRNAs mediate the associations between PAHs and semen quality. We measured 10 monohydroxylated PAHs (OH-PAHs) in repeated urine samples and three candidate spermatogenesis-related miRNAs (miRNA106a, miRNA21, and miRNA34c) in seminal plasma from men attending an infertility clinic (n = 111). Mediation analysis was applied to determine the mediating role of spermatogenesis-related miRNAs in the association of PAH exposure with semen quality. Urinary 2-OHFlu and 2-OHPh were related to reduced seminal plasma miRNA34c (p for trend = 0.05 and 0.03, respectively). Urinary 9-OHPh was related to reduced seminal plasma miR106a (p for trend = 0.02), which in turn, was positively associated with sperm concentration, sperm count, sperm total motility, and progressive motility (all p for trends<0.05). Up to 43.8% of the eff ;ect of urinary 9-OHPh on decreased sperm concentration was mediated by seminal plasma miR106a. Our results suggested that certain PAH exposure was associated with reduced spermatogenesis-related miRNAs and such alterations might be an intermediate mechanism by which PAHs exert its adverse effects on semen quality.


Mediation,MicroRNA,Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,Seminal plasma,Sperm,

OUR Recent Articles