Several studies have shown a dramatic reduction of semen quality in many industrialized countries and infertility is becoming a public health top priority, whose incidence is associated to late-onset adult diseases, especially cancer, shorter life expectancy and trans-generational effects.
The male reproductive system is particularly sensitive to a broad variety of reproductive and developmental toxicants, including many environmental pollutants and recent studies suggest that human semen is an early and sensitive environmental and health marker. A set of semen biomarkers is described for reproductive health effects in relation to environmental exposure, where human semen seems to be an early and sensitive source of biomarkers than blood to monitor high environmental pressure on human health. Environmental health should consider reproductive health and development, from intrauterine life to childhood and puberty: these are both vulnerable targets and high-value protection goals, inasmuch as they represent the future of our societies. Hence, biomarkers of reproductive health should be exploited as early signals of environmental pressure and increased risk of adverse chronic health effects so that the use of “human seminal model” might be the main objective to be considered in the agenda of public prevention policies for early detection and innovative programs of health surveillance in environmental risk areas.
By Luigi Montano, Paolo Bergamo, Maria Grazia Andreassi and Stefano Lorenzetti
Submitted: March 6th 2017Reviewed: December 18th 2017Published: June 13th 2018