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Title: Trace elements and human fertility
Author: Stovell, Alex Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0001 3487 9162
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1999
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Methods were developed and validated for the analysis of trace elements in human scalp hair, blood serum, ovarian follicular fluid and seminal plasma by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). An interlaboratory comparison was also undertaken to compare the analysis of biological materials by ICP-MS with instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). Preliminary trace element protein speciation experiments were carried out using size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with detection by ICP-MS. Developed methods for total trace element analysis were applied to the measurement of trace elements in men and women with specific infertility problems in three separate studies. The first examined twelve trace elements (aluminium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, molybdenum, cadmium and lead) in the scalp hair of men and women with infertility problems, compared to controls. Iron and manganese were found to be significantly higher in infertile women (Student t-test, p< 0.05) and zinc was found to be significantly lower in men with low sperm counts (p< 0.05). The second study examined the trace element concentrations (iron, copper, zinc, selenium, cadmium and lead) in blood serum and follicular fluid from women undergoing In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment. Several significant differences were observed for blood serum (p < 0.05). Zinc was higher in women who became pregnant after IVF (n = 35), but cadmium was lower, compared to those who did not become pregnant (n = 69) and selenium was higher in women who produced a baby (n = 17) compared to those who became pregnant but did not produce a baby (n = 8). The effects of cigarette smoking, folic acid supplementation and alcohol consumption on trace element concentrations were also reported. The implications of these results are discussed. Lead concentrations in ovarian follicular fluid were reported for the first time (1.46 + 1.18 mug l-1). In the final study, trace element concentrations were measured in the seminal plasma of men from infertile couples. Values compared favourably with those in the scientific literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Infertility; Treatment; INAA