Purpose: To discuss low-dose radiation-induced risks to male fertility focusing on potential mechanisms of low-dose radiation-induced damage on spermatogenesis, epidemiological studies of environmental radiation effects on sperm parameters and transgenerational effects following exposure of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Background: Spermatogenesis produces mature male gametes, spermatozoa, which fertilize their counterpart female gametes, oocytes. The robust maintenance system of spermatogenesis is essential for genomic conservation; however, male fertility can be readily impacted by exposure to environmental, chemical and physical factors including ionizing radiation. The mammalian testes are known to be radiosensitive yet the underlying molecular mechanisms of low-dose radiation-induced risks for spermatogenesis remain unclear. Furthermore, evidence characterizing transgenerational effects following exposure of SSCs remain controversial. Conclusions: Current concerns over the possible effects of low-dose radiation exposure on spermatogenesis requires further elucidation that may be resolved comparing and integrating observed experimental and epidemiological data.
- Chernobyl nuclear accident
- Fukushima nuclear accident
- low-dose radiation-induced risk
- transgenerational effect
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging