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Effect of smoking on membrane integrity of sperms – study by hypo-osmotic swelling test

Authors:Vinod Shende , Puja Singh , Sachin Pawar , Vikas Udan , Ramji Singh
Int J Biol Med Res. 2012; 3(3): 1909 - 1911.  |  PDF File


Aim: Routine semen analysis does not give information about the fertilizing ability of the sperm; therefore sperm function tests are essential to explore fertility potential of the sperm. Sperm capacitation, acrosomal reaction, and penetration of egg are also dependent upon membrane integrity of spermatozoa. Therefore, assessment of membrane function is a useful indicator of the fertilizing ability of spermatozoa. Hypo-osmotic swelling test (HOS) is a laboratory index of the functional integrity of the sperm plasma membrane. Cigarette smoke has deleterious effect on membrane integrity of sperm and as the HOS test can assess it. The present study was aimed to compare the membrane integrity of sperms by using hypo-osmotic swelling test in smokers and non-smokers. Methods: The present cross-sectional study included 60 subjects (30 smokers and 30 non-smokers) in age group of 20-40 years. Smokers were having the history of smoking for at least 3 years or more and non-smokers were the subjects who were not having any history of active smoking. The subjects were referred to Reproductive Biology Lab as a part of investigation for infertility. In all the subjects routine semen analysis was done and Hypo-osmotic swelling test was performed. Result: In smoker group, out of 30 subjects, 20 subjects have HOS test result <60% and 10 subjects have the HOS test result >60%. In non-smoker group, out of the 30 subjects, 10 subjects have HOS test result <60% and 20 subjects have HOS test result >60%. There was statistically significant (P < 0.05) association between smoking and the abnormal HOS test (coiling of sperms <60%) observed. Conclusion: We conclude that smoking increases oxidative stress in seminal fluid of male smokers which has deleterious effect on membrane integrity of human sperms which can be detected by Hypo osmotic swelling test.