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  • 1 University of Ljubljana Institute of Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Veterinary Faculty Ljubljana Slovenia
  • 2 University of Ljubljana Centre for Animal Genomics, Veterinary Faculty Gerbiceva 60 SI-1000 Ljubljana Slovenia
  • 3 University of Maribor Institute of Physiology, Medical Faculty Maribor Slovenia
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Decline in semen quality in humans and increased incidence of male reproductive problems could be caused by different factors, including pesticides that could mimic or block the action of endogenous hormones. If the decline in semen quality is real, and environmental chemicals are at least partially responsible for this decline, similar changes should be observed in animals that live in close connection with humans and are exposed to similar levels of pollutants. In the present study, the semen quality of bulls in the last 30 years was examined with respect to the year of birth. Furthermore, semen quality results were correlated to the total pesticide use in a limited geographical area. The results indicate a notable decrease in both ejaculate volume and total number of spermatozoa in ejaculates of bulls born in the late 1970s, while after that (until 2006) there was no obvious downward or upward trend either in ejaculate volume or in the total number of sperm cells. The amount of pesticides released into the environment increased about twofold in the given period, and linear regression analysis revealed a strong and statistically significant correlation between the amount of pesticides used and the total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate.

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