Many metal ions (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, vanadium, copper, lithium) exert a wide variety of adverse effects on reproduction and development, including influence on male and female subfertility or fertility, abortions, malformations, birth defects, and effects on the central nervous system. The effects produced by metal ions depend on several factors, such as timing and duration of exposure, their distribution and accumulation in various organs (e.g., the nervous system), and on the interference with specific developmental processes. Neonatal and early postnatal periods are lifespan segments during which sensitivity to metals is high; e.g., lead toxicity on the developing organism is paradigmatic of related well known and still open questions. In more recent decades, important mechanisms of action have been suggested: the endocrine disruption via impact of metal ions on reproductive hormones and the oxidative stress. While experimental data provide clear evidence of effects of many metals, human data are scant and traditionally limited to high levels of a few metal ions, like lead on male fertility. Less documented are reproductive effects for mercury, manganese, chromium, nickel, and arsenic for the same gender. More complex is the demonstration of effects on female reproduction and on pregnancy. The action of lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and mercury may in fact be relevant in several stages, beginning in fetal life, during early development or maturity, and is characterized by subfertility, infertility, intrauterine growth retardation, spontaneous abortions, malformations, birth defects, postnatal death, learning and behavior deficits, and premature aging. Also, for females the evidences of specific aspects such as fertility or abortions are usually higher and clearer from animal experiments than from human studies.
"Exposure during neurulation results in the formation of neural tube defects in all species, the extent of which depends on dose, time of exposure, strain, and nutritional status [12, 14–16]. Other effects include male and female subfertility or abortions [17, 18]. Moreover, Kippler et al.  reported that maternal exposure to Cd was significantly and inversely associated with the head circumference and birth weight of girls. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Evaluation of the effects of Arthrospira maxima (AM) was made, otherwise known as Spirulina, on the teratogenicity, genotoxicity, and DNA oxidation processes induced by cadmium (Cd). Pregnant ICR mice were divided into groups and administered water, Cd only, AM only, or AM plus Cd. AM was administered orally at doses of 200, 400, and 800 mg/kg from gestational day 0 (GD0) to GD17, and at GD7 there was an intraperitoneal challenge of Cd (1.5 mg/kg). Cd only caused fetal malformations, including exencephaly, micrognathia, ablephary, microphthalmia, and clubfoot, as well as a significant increase in the quantity of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (MNPE) and of micronucleated normochromatic erythrocytes (MNNE) in blood cells of both the mothers and their fetuses. An increased level of oxidation was also found, measured by a rise in the levels of the adduct 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine. In a dose-dependent manner, AM significantly reduced the number of external, visceral, and skeletal malformations, the quantity of MNPE and MNNE, and the level of DNA oxidation. The results suggest that AM may reduce the genotoxic effects and rates of congenital malformations caused by exposure to Cd in utero and that the antioxidant activity of this cyanobacterium could be responsible, at least in part, for producing this effect.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 11/2013; 2013(2):604535. DOI:10.1155/2013/604535 · 1.88 Impact Factor
"Uranium , mercury and lead , ( lg / kg , mean ± SD ) in hair samples from parents from Italy , Iran , and Fallujah Iraq Bull Environ Contam Toxicol exposure can culminate in birth deformities by increasing oxidative stress in the womb as the fetus grows ( Apostoli and Catalani 2011 ) . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Between October 1994 and October 1995, the number of birth defects per 1,000 live births in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital was 1.37. In 2003, the number of birth defects in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital was 23 per 1,000 live births. Within less than a decade, the occurrence of congenital birth defects increased by an astonishing 17-fold in the same hospital. A yearly account of the occurrence and types of birth defects, between 2003 and 2011, in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital, was reported. Metal levels in hair, toenail, and tooth samples of residents of Al Basrah were also provided. The enamel portion of the deciduous tooth from a child with birth defects from Al Basrah (4.19 μg/g) had nearly three times higher lead than the whole teeth of children living in unimpacted areas. Lead was 1.4 times higher in the tooth enamel of parents of children with birth defects (2,497 ± 1,400 μg/g, mean ± SD) compared to parents of normal children (1,826 ± 1,819 μg/g). Our data suggested that birth defects in the Iraqi cities of Al Basrah (in the south of Iraq) and Fallujah (in central Iraq) are mainly folate-dependent. This knowledge offers possible treatment options and remediation plans for at-risk Iraqi populations.
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 09/2012; 89(5):937-44. DOI:10.1007/s00128-012-0817-2 · 1.26 Impact Factor
"   Besides these toxic effects, also the reproductive toxicity of nickel is described in the literature, however, no studies were located regarding reproductive effects in humans after oral exposure to nickel.      Apostoli and Catalani  have stated that experimental data provide clear evidence of reproductive effects of many metals, but human data are scant and traditionally limited to high levels of a few metal ions, like lead on male fertility. Less documented are reproductive effects for mercury, manganese, chromium, Fig. 1. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, the effects of nickel chloride (NiCl(2)) applied per os on testis histopathology and morphometry of mice were investigated. The metal was applied in pellets at a dose of 10 mg NiCl(2)/kg bw to male mice 4 weeks of age. After 3, 6, 9 and 12 weeks of nickel administration, the relative volume of whole seminiferous tubule, germinal epithelium, tubule lumen, interstitium and blood vessels as well as the diameter of seminiferous tubules were determined in the experimental and corresponding control groups. Microscopic examination of testis showed significant changes in all nickel-exposed groups. The degeneration of germinal epithelium, with released germ cells into the lumen of the tubules, and occurrence of empty spaces in the seminiferous epithelium were found in all experimental groups. The changes in the testes were time-dependent. The relative volume of empty spaces in the seminiferous epithelium significantly increased (P < 0.001) in all experimental groups when compared with the corresponding control. A significant decrease in the relative volume of seminiferous epithelium was observed after 6 and 12 weeks of Ni-exposure. The increased luminization of the tubules was found after 6 (P < 0.001), 9 (P < 0.01) and 12 (P < 0.001) weeks. Interstitial tissue significantly decreased after 6 and 9 weeks of Ni exposure and increased after 12 weeks of Ni intake. The seminiferous tubule diameter significantly (P < 0.001) decreased after 12 weeks. Results of this study report a serious, time-dependent changes in the testes, mainly in the germinal epithelium, after a peroral intake of nickel.
Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering 07/2012; 47(9):1272-9. DOI:10.1080/10934529.2012.672130 · 1.16 Impact Factor
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