Although pesticides are recognized as necessary substances to improve agricultural production, exposure to pesticides is known to have a direct or indirect adverse effect on the reproductive function of mammals. The present study examines the effects of mancozeb, a well-known fungicide, on the fertility capacity of spermatozoa. Boar spermatozoa exposed to varying concentrations of mancozeb (0.01 - 0.5 µM) were evaluated for motility, motion kinetic parameters, viability, acrosome integrity and the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) after 30 min or 2 hrs of incubation. A significant reduction in the motility of spermatozoa was observed upon exposure to mancozeb. Similarly, there was a significant reduction of the motion kinematics of sperm treated with mancozeb as compared to untreated controls (p < 0.05). The sperm viability percentage and acrosome integrity also showed dose-dependent decreases upon exposure to mancozeb. High concentrations of mancozeb (0.2 - 0.5 µM) induced higher levels of intracellular ROS production, which resulted in the loss of the sperm membrane and decreased sperm motility due to oxidative stress. Taken together, the results here indicate that direct exposure to mancozeb affects the sperm fertility capacity. Hence, careful research that examines the interaction between reproduction and environmental toxins is crucial to prevent fertility disorders in animals.
Figures & Tables
Fig. 1. Chemical structure of mancozeb.