Does high load of oxidants in human semen contribute to male factor infertility?

Hong Chen, Hong Xin Zhao, Xue Feng Huang, Guo Wu Chen, Zhi Xing Yang, Wei Jie Sun, Meng Hua Tao, Yao Yuan, Jun Qing Wu, Fei Sun, Qi Dai, Hui Juan Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Basal generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was essential for male reproductive function, whereas high ROS levels may be linked to low quality of sperm and male infertility. We examined the associations between ROS levels in whole ejaculates and sperm quality among 1092 male factor infertility (MFI) patients and 50 donors with normal semen characteristics. ROS levels were significantly positively correlated with abnormal morphology rate, head defect, and sperm deformity index. Further, we investigated whether seminal plasma from MFI patients with high ROS levels affects sperm motility from donors with normal semen characteristics. After cross-culturing fresh human sperm from donors possessing normal semen characteristics with seminal plasma from infertitle men, sperm motility was measured at different ROS levels. Seminal plasma from MFI patients significantly reduced motility of sperm and the reduction rate increased with increasing ROS levels in seminal plasma. On the other hand, we found MFI patients with the ROS levels in the lowest 25th percentile had similar ROS levels to donors with normal semen characteristics. Collectively, our observations lead to the hypothesis that oxidative stress plays a critical role in the development of MFI among those with high ROS levels, but not those with low ROS levels. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 16, 754-759.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2012


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