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Assessment of DNA integrity (COMET assay) in sperm cells of boron-exposed workers

2012-01-01
DUYDU, YALÇIN
Basaran, Nursen
ÜSTÜNDAĞ, AYLİN
AYDIN DİLSİZ, SEVTAP
ÜNDEĞER BUCURGAT, ÜLKÜ
Ataman, Osman Yavuz
AYDOS, KAAN
Duker, Yalcin
Ickstadt, Katja
Waltrup, Britta Schulze
Golka, Klaus
Bolt, Hermann M.
An extension of a male reproductive study conducted in a boric acid/borate production zone at Bandirma, Turkey, is presented. The relation between DNA-strand breaks (COMET assay, neutral and alkaline version) in sperm cells and previously described sperm quality parameters was investigated in boron-exposed males. A correlation between blood boron levels and mean DNA-strand breaks in sperm was weak, and DNA-strand breaks in sperm were statistically not different between control and exposed groups. Therefore, increasing boron exposures had no additional contribution in addition to already pre-existing DNA-strand breaks in the sperm cells. Weak but statistically significant correlations between DNA-strand breaks and motility/morphology parameters of sperm samples were observed in the neutral version of the COMET assay, while correlations between the same variables were statistically not significant in the alkaline version. A likely reason for these negative results, even in highly exposed humans, is that experimental exposures that had led to reproductive toxicity in animals were significantly higher than any boron exposures, which may be reached under realistic human conditions.