Damaging legacy: maternal cigarette smoking has long-term consequences for male offspring fertility

Alexander P Sobinoff, Jessie Sutherland, Emma L Beckett, Simone J Stanger, Renee Johnson, Andrew G Jarnicki, Adam McCluskey, Justin Charles St John, Philip M Hansbro, Eileen Anne McLaughlin

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    29 Citations (Scopus)


    What are the effects on fertility of cigarette smoke-induced toxicity on male offspring exposed during the gestational/weaning period? SUMMARY ANSWER: Maternal cigarette smoke exposure during the gestational/weaning period causes long-term defects in male offspring fertility. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Cigarette smoke is a well-known reproductive toxicant which is particularly harmful to both fetal and neonatal germ cells. However, recent studies suggest a significant portion of young mothers in the developed world still smoke during pregnancy. In the context of male reproductive health, our understanding of the effects of in utero exposure on offspring fertility is limited. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: In this study, 27 C57BL/6 5-week-old female mice were exposed via the nose-only to cigarette smoke (treatment) or 27 were exposed to room air (control) for 6 weeks before being housed with stud males to produce litters. In the treatment group, smoke exposure continued throughout mating, pregnancy and lactation until weaning of pups at 21 days post birth. Male offspring were examined at post-natal days 3, 6, 12, 21 and 98 (adult). PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Approximately 108 maternal smoke-exposed C57BL/6 offspring and controls were examined. Spermatogenesis was examined using testicular histology and apoptosis/DNA damage was assessed using caspase immunohistochemistry and TUNEL. Sertoli cell morphology and fluctuations in the spermatogonial stem cell population were also examined using immunohistochemistry. Microarray and QPCR analysis were performed on adult testes to examine specific long-term transcriptomic alteration as a consequence of maternal smoke exposure. Sperm counts and motility, zona/oolemma binding assays, COMET analysis and mitochondrial genomic sequencing were also performed on spermatozoa obtained from adult treated and control mice. Fertility trials using exposed adult male offspring were also performed. MAIN RESULTS AND
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2719 - 2735
    Number of pages17
    JournalHuman Reproduction
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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