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Aim: The effect of pollution due to gas flaring on men native to Ebocha, in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria was investigated.
Materials and Methods: Blood specimens from twenty approximately healthy men from Ebocha community within the age groups 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54 years were screened. Control blood specimens were obtained from twenty approximately healthy men from Uzi, Owerri (a location with no history of petroleum hydrocarbon pollution) with the same age bracket. Standard analytical procedures were used to determine the concentrations of male sex hormones; testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Some antioxidant parameters; glutathione and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) were also determined. The activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) was also assayed.
Results: Results obtained revealed that there was a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in testosterone concentrations of men from Ebocha within the age groups of 35-39, 45-49 and 50-54 in contrast to those within the age groups of 30-34 and 40-44 when compared to the control. There was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in the concentration of LH of only men from Ebocha within the age group 45-49 when compared to those from Owerri. There was no significant (p < 0.05) difference in the concentration of FSH of men within the age groups from both sites. However, there was a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in the concentrations of GSH for all age groups in men from Ebocha when compared to those from the control sites. The same trend was observed for ascorbic acid concentrations in men from Ebocha for all the age groups from 30-54 years old. There was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in LDH activity of men from Ebocha among all the age groups when compared to those from Owerri.
Conclusion: These findings show that testosterone, glutathione, ascorbic acid concentrations and lactate dehydrogenase activity in the blood specimens of men from Ebocha were affected and it is possibly due to the chronic exposure to gas flaring in the environment.
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