Oxidative stress status and sperm DNA fragmentation in fertile and infertile men

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Evidence suggests that disturbing the balance between reactive oxygen species levels and antioxidant contents in seminal plasma leads to oxidative stress resulting in male infertility. This study was carried out to identifying clinical significance of seminal oxidative stress and sperm DNA fragmentation in treatment strategies of male infertility in southwest Iran. Sperm parameters, lipid peroxidation and activity of antioxidant enzymes were assessed in fertile (n = 105) and infertile (n = 112) men. Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in seminal plasma were found to be higher significantly (p < .001) in patients. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities in seminal plasma were significantly (p < .001) lower in infertile men. Significant negative correlations were observed between MDA levels and sperm motility and normal morphology. Spermatozoa with fragmented DNA were higher (p < .001) in infertile men and significantly correlated with MDA levels and SOD and GPx activities. MDA of 4.2 nmol/ml, SOD of 4.89 U/ml and GPx of 329.6 mU/ml were optimum cut-off limits to discriminate infertile patients from fertile men. The results show the leading role of oxidative stress in aetiology of male infertility in southwest Iran and indicate that evaluation of seminal antioxidant status and DNA integrity can be helpful in men attending infertility clinics during fertility assessment.

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