Chronic Background Radiation Correlates With Sperm Swimming Endurance in Bank Voles From Chernobyl
Kivisaari, K., Calhim, S., Lehmann, P., Boratyński, Z., Mousseau, T. A., Møller, A. P., & Mappes, T. (2022). Chronic Background Radiation Correlates With Sperm Swimming Endurance in Bank Voles From Chernobyl. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, Article 736389. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.736389
Published inFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
© 2022 the Authors
Sperm quantity and quality are key features explaining intra- and interspecific variation in male reproductive success. Spermatogenesis is sensitive to ionizing radiation and laboratory studies investigating acute effects of ionizing radiation have indeed found negative effects of radiation on sperm quantity and quality. In nature, levels of natural background radiation vary dramatically, and chronic effects of low-level background radiation exposure on spermatogenesis are poorly understood. The Chernobyl region offers a unique research opportunity for investigating effects of chronic low-level ionizing radiation on reproductive properties of wild organisms. We captured male bank voles (Myodes glareolus) from 24 locations in the Chernobyl exclusion zone in 2011 and 2015 and collected information on sperm morphology and kinetics. The dataset is limited in size and there overall was a relatively weak correlation between background radiation and sperm quality. Still, some correlations are worth discussing. First, midpiece segments of spermatozoa tended to be smaller in bank vole males from areas with elevated background radiation levels. Second, we demonstrated a significant positive relationship between background radiation dose rates and the proportion of static spermatozoa among males within and among study locations after 10 as well as 60 min of incubation. Our results provide novel evidence of damaging effects of low dose ionizing radiation on sperm performance in wild rodent populations, and highlight that this topic requires further study across the natural gradients of background radiation that exist in nature. ...
PublisherFrontiers Media SA
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingAcademy of Finland to TM (Grant No. 268670), and Emil Aaltonen Foundation (Grant No. 160107) and Oskar Öflund Foundation to KK financially supported this study. The Samuel Freeman Charitable Foundation, The American Council of Learned Societies, and the CNRS (France) provided financial support for TAM and AM.
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