Recreational Drugs and ROS Production in Mammalian Spermatozoa

Fabio Firmbach Pasqualotto and Eleonora Bedin Pasqualotto

Abstract Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant capacity of the cell. Oxidative stress appears to be the major cause of DNA damage in the male germ line. Furthermore, many studies have indicated a significant correlation between DNA damage and high levels of ROS in infertile patients. Male reproductive health is already under threat from a range of environmental factors including endocrine disruptors, toxic pollutants, ionizing and lifestyle factors such as sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, smoking, and anabolic steroid use. Further hazards such as fast food, recreational drugs, and stress levels may also impair male fertility. Recreational drugs such as alcohol, barbiturates, amphetamines, THC, PCP, cocaine, and heroin, but also includes caffeine in coffee and cola beverages, and environmental factors may increase ROS production, leading to DNA damage and further male infertility.

Keywords Recreational drugs • ROS production • Mammalian spermatozoa • Psychotropic medications • Cigarette smoking

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