Independent and combined effects of diethylhexyl phthalate and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 on sperm quality in the human and dog

Rebecca Sumner, Matthew Tomlinson, Jim Craigon, Gary C.W. England, Richard G. Lea

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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A temporal decline in human and dog sperm quality is thought to reflect a common environmental aetiology. This may reflect direct effects of seminal chemicals on sperm function and quality. Here we report the effects of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (PCB153) on DNA fragmentation and motility in human and dog sperm. Human and dog semen was collected from registered donors (n = 9) and from stud dogs (n = 11) and incubated with PCB153 and DEHP, independently and combined, at 0x, 2x, 10x and 100x dog testis concentrations. A total of 16 treatments reflected a 4 × 4 factorial experimental design. Although exposure to DEHP and/or PCB153 alone increased DNA fragmentation and decreased motility, the scale of dose-related effects varied with the presence and relative concentrations of each chemical (DEHP.PCB interaction for: DNA fragmentation; human p < 0.001, dog p < 0.001; Motility; human p < 0.001, dog p < 0.05). In both human and dog sperm, progressive motility negatively correlated with DNA fragmentation regardless of chemical presence (Human: P < 0.0001, r = −0.36; dog P < 0.0001, r = −0.29). We conclude that DEHP and PCB153, at known tissue concentrations, induce similar effects on human and dog sperm supporting the contention of the dog as a sentinel species for human exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3409 (2019)
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019



  • Canine
  • Environmental Chemicals
  • Reproduction
  • Fertility
  • Sperm
  • Human

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