The association between iron, calcium, and oxidative stress in seminal plasma and sperm quality
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The present study aimed to determine the level of iron and calcium in the seminal plasma of men with different fertility potentials and to examine its relationship with oxidative stress. Seventy-nine sub-fertile patients with asthenoteratozoospermia (AT), n 27; teratoleucozoospermia (TL), n 20; teratozoospermia (Terato), n 32; and 29 healthy donors were included. The ability of spermatozoa to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) was evaluated by using nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) staining. The lipid peroxidation end product, malondialdehyde (MDA), and the trace element levels (iron and calcium) were measured spectrophotometrically. Iron and calcium concentrations in seminal plasma of the patient groups were significantly more elevated than the normal group. Nevertheless, both calcium and iron showed strong negative correlations with the total sperm motility and normal sperm morphology, but only iron was positively and significantly associated with multiple anomalies index and seminal leucocyte concentration. On the other hand, the rates of MDA and ROS production in semen were significantly higher in the three abnormal groups than in controls. These two oxidative stress biomarkers were significantly associated with the percentage of atypical forms in semen. However, only semen ROS level was significantly associated with the decreased sperm motility and the sperm leucocytes concentration. Meanwhile, there are positive correlations between seminal iron and calcium content and the studied oxidative stress biomarkers. Oxidative stress and trace element excess are implicated in low sperm quality. Iron and calcium might be the mediators of the effects of oxidative damage and induces lipid peroxidation.
KeywordsMale infertility Iron Calcium Oxidative stress Sperm
The authors thank all couples, doctors, and researchers for their cooperation. We also thank our research team in the reproductive biology and human cytogenetic laboratory for their support.
This work was supported by funds allocated to the Research Unit of Histology and Genetic UR12ES10 by the Ministère Tunisien de l’Enseingement Supérieur et de la Recherché Scientifique.
Compliance with ethical standards
This protocol was approved by the local ethics committees le comité d’éthique médicale et de recherche de l’hopital universitaire Fattouma Bourguiba Monastir. All patients and controls had previously given informed consent for the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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