Environmental Pollutants, Reproductive Health and Fertility
Unit(s) of assessment: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology
Research theme: Health and Wellbeing
School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Research is currently being undertaken by the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Science (ARES) into the effects of environmental pollutants on fertility and reproductive health.
A number of epidemiological studies indicate that there has been, in the last 50 years, a significant reduction in factors related to human male fertility. Fertility parameters and measures of reproductive health have an interrelationship and are collectively termed Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome (TDS) and perturbed prenatal development resulting in adult pathology is indicated. This syndrome has been attributed to anthropogenic chemicals or compounds found in the environment which alter normal endocrine function and hence, termed endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
Research is currently being undertaken by ARES into the effects of environmental pollutants on fertility and reproductive health. Histological examination of canine tissue (residual from routine veterinary procedures), collected from areas across Europe, is being used to identify geographic differences in testis development. This information is correlated with background levels of certain environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals to determine an association. Culture systems are being used to examine the effect of environmental chemical pollutants on live canine cells (testis tissue and spermatozoa). This work has established the dog as a sentinel model for research into certain aspects of human reproductive health and fertility.