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Inflammation in the brain causes sperm counts to decline: Reports

Despite decades of research, scientists did not know how air pollution contributes to diseases like obesity, diabetes, and infertility. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) report that air pollution affects sperm counts in mice by causing inflammation in the brain. Due to the direct connection between the brain and the reproductive organs, scientists already know that stress affects fertility and sperm count.

‘Our findings showed that the damage due to air pollution – at least to the sperm count – could be remedied by removing a single inflammation marker in the brains of mice, suggesting that we may be able to develop therapies that could prevent or reverse the damaging effects of air pollution on fertility,’ study author Zhekang Ying explained.

The current study, which was published in September in the science journal Environmental Health Perspectives, aimed to understand what caused sperm counts to decline across the world in previous decades. Scientists will be studying mice that are considered healthy or mice that do not have a sign of inflammation in the brain, which is called inhibitors of kappa B kinase 2, or IKK2. Prior to measuring sperm counts, they analyzed the effects of pollution on healthy and IKK2 mutant mice.


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