MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anders Rehfeld MD, PhD Student
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Copenhagen
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Human fertility is declining in many areas of the world and the reason is largely unknown. Our study shows that 44% of the tested chemical UV filters can induce calcium signals in human sperm cells, thereby mimicking the effect of progesterone. Progesterone-induced calcium signals, and the sperm functions it triggers, is absolutely essential for the human sperm cell to normally fertilise the human egg.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our study is an in vitro study, so we cannot know for sure if these effects of the chemical UV filters also takes place in vivo. However, if you are a couple trying to achieve pregnancy, it might be a good idea to use sunscreens with physical UV filters, instead of the chemical ones, even though we still cannot say for sure if they affect fertilisation in vivo.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: The main study needed would be a large human exposure study, where fertility rates were assed in an exposed and unexposed group, but this may have ethical implications. The only animal model that I know of, in which the sperm cells react to progesterone in a similar way as human sperms, is the Rhesus Macaque monkey. It might be worth a try to do the exposure study on this model instead.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Our finding might have implications outside of the field of fertility, as progesterone signaling is important in many different organs and cells.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Endocrinology. 2016 Sep 1:en20161473. [Epub ahead of print]
Chemical UV filters mimic the effect of progesterone on Ca2+ signaling in human sperm cells.
Rehfeld A1,2,3, Dissing S2, Skakkebæk NE1,3
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