Background: Use of cellular phones emitting radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) has been increased exponentially and become a part of everyday life. This study aimed to investigate the effects of in vitro RF-EMF exposure emitted from cellular phones on sperm motility index, sperm DNA fragmentation and seminal clusterin (CLU) gene expression.
Materials and methods: In this prospective study, a total of 124 semen samples were grouped into the following main categories: i. normozoospermia (N, n=26), ii. asthenozoospermia (A, n=32), iii. asthenoteratozoospermia (AT, n=31) and iv. oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT, n=35). The same semen samples were then divided into two portions non-exposed and exposed samples to cell phone radiation for 1 hour. Before and immediately after exposure, both aliquots were subjected to different assessments for sperm motility, acrosin activity, sperm DNA fragmentation and CLU gene expression. Statistical differences were analyzed using paired t student test for comparisons between two sub-groups where p<0.05 was set as significant.
Results: There was a significant decrease in sperm motility, sperm linear velocity, sperm linearity index, and sperm acrosin activity, whereas there was a significant increase in sperm DNA fragmentation percent, CLU gene expression and CLU protein levels in the exposed semen samples to RF-EMF compared with non-exposed samples in OAT>AT>A>N groups, respectively (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Cell phone emissions have a negative impact on exposed sperm motility index, sperm acrosin activity, sperm DNA fragmentation and seminal CLU gene expression, especially in OAT cases.
Keywords: Cell Phone; Electromagnetic Radiation; Sperm Motility; Spermatozoa.