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Ultramorphological Sperm Characteristics in the Risk Assessment of Health Effects after Radiation Exposure among Salvage Workers in Chernobyl

Alf Fischbein, Natalia Zabludovsky, Fina Eltes, Valentin Grischenko and Benjamin Bartoov
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 105, Supplement 6: Radiation and Human Health (Dec., 1997), pp. 1445-1449
DOI: 10.2307/3433648
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3433648
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ultramorphological Sperm Characteristics in the Risk Assessment of Health Effects after Radiation Exposure among Salvage Workers in Chernobyl
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Abstract

We present a pilot study of individuals (liquidators) who were engaged in clean-up operations after the disaster at the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in Ukraine. In the 10 years since the disaster, adverse health effects among exposed individuals have not been clearly defined. There is widespread fear of damage to the reproductive system, with implications for fertility problems and adverse effects on offspring. Bearing this in mind, methods to evaluate the potential for production of fertile semen have been applied using quantitative ultramorphological (QUM) analysis. QUM analysis examines the organization and integrity of sperm organelles by electron microscopy, using both transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Significant differences were observed between clean-up workers and controls of similar age regarding certain ultramorphological parameters of the sperm head. The results of this pilot study suggest that QUM analysis of human sperm is a feasible approach for evaluating the fertility potential of individuals who were exposed to ionizing radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

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