Men, take note! Cigarette smoking may significantly damage the DNA of your sperm and affect fertility as compared to non-smokers, a new study has warned.
Researchers also assessed 422 proteins in participants' sperm. One protein was absent, 27 proteins were under-represented, and 6 proteins were over-represented in smokers.
Analyses of these proteins suggest that cigarette smoking may promote an inflammatory response in the male reproductive tract.
The study published in the journal BJU International included 20 non-smoking men and 20 men who smoked.
"More and more studies are demonstrating a harmful effect of smoking on male fertility," said Dr Ricardo Pimenta Bertolla, senior author of the study.
"Our results point in the direction of important semen alterations: semen of smokers presents an inflammatory nature, associated with decreased capacity of sperm to achieve fertilisation and generate a healthy pregnancy," said Mr Bertolla.
"It is especially noteworthy that, in our study, sperm DNA fragmentation was increased. Other studies have proposed this to be a potentially promutagenic effect, which is to say that sperm with altered DNA may lead to health problems in the offspring," Mr Bertolla said.