Morphofunctional disturbances of human sperm after incubation with organophosphorate pesticides

Contreras, H. R.; Bustos-Obregon, E; Badilla J.

Keywords: membrane, insect, cell, spermatozoa, microscopy, humans, motility, acrosome, human, male, insecta, paraoxon, parathion, article, spermatozoon, mammal, cytogenetics, insecticides, pesticide, mammalia, alkylation, animal, organophosphate, Reaction, Animalia, germ, Hexapoda


The organophosphoprate pesticides are highly toxic for insects and mammals, but their effects in the male reproductive tract are scarcely known. Many alterations induced by organophosphorate pesticides have been described, such as: cytogenetic alterations in germinal cells, oligozoospermia and teratozoospermia in the mouse. Parathion®, the pesticide mostly utilized in Chilean agriculture, is rapidly metabolized to paraoxon, the active metabolite, in mammalian organisms. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of Parathion® and paraoxon on different morphological and functional parameters of the sperm. Human spermatozoa were incubated with Parathion® and paraoxon at different concentrations (0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 and 0.8 mM). Vitality (tripan blue and eosin tests), acrosome reaction (triple stain test), plasma membrane integrity (HOS-test), and chromatin stability (sodium thioglycolate test) were determined. The observations were done by optical microscopy at 1000x of magnification and three hundred sperms were evaluated for each treatment. The results indicated that Parathion® and paraoxon increase the percent of sperm with acrosome reaction and also increase the percentage of sperm with chromatin decondensation in a dose- dependent manner. The vitality and plasma membrane integrity decrease significantly in a dose-dependent manner. The results suggest a direct action of Parathion® and paraoxon on the different parameters studied. The morphofunctionality of sperm is altered significatively, suggesting that Parathion® and paraoxon, thanks to their alkylating and electrophylic properties, could act on DNA and proteins respectively, to elicit these changes.

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Título de la Revista: BIOCELL
Volumen: 23
Número: 2
Editorial: Tech Science Press
Fecha de publicación: 1999
Página de inicio: 135
Página final: 141