Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 184, Issue 2, pp 340–349 | Cite as

Effect of Oral Zinc Supplementation on the Thiol Oxido-Reductive Index and Thiol-Related Enzymes in Seminal Plasma and Spermatozoa of Iraqi Asthenospermic Patients

  • Abdul Razzaq S. Alsalman
  • Lamia A. Almashhedy
  • Mahmoud Hussein HadwanEmail author


A thiol group plays an essential role in sperm metabolism and the antioxidative defense state. Zinc is the second most abundant element in the human body, following iron. The present study was conducted to study the effect of zinc supplementation on the characteristics of semen along with thiol and thiol-related enzymes in semen of asthenospermic patients. Semen samples were obtained from 60 fertile and 60 asthenospermic men, from couples who had consulted the infertility clinic of Babil Hospital (Hillah city, Iraq). The subfertile group was treated with zinc; every participant took two 220 mg capsules of zinc sulfate per day for 3 months. Semen samples were obtained (before and after zinc supplementation). The levels of reduced thiol, oxidized thiol, thiol oxido-reductive index, and thiol-related enzymes activities were determined in spermatozoa and seminal plasma of patients and healthy groups. Oxidized thiol levels were significantly higher in the infertile patients compared to that in the fertile group. Conversely, reduced thiol level, sulfhydryl oxidase activity, and glutathione peroxidase activity significantly decreased in the infertile patients compared to that in the fertile group. Oxidized thiol levels, reduced thiol levels, and thiol-related enzymes activities of the infertile patients were restored to normal values after treatment with zinc. However, reduced and oxidized thiol levels in spermatozoa did not change significantly in the group treated with zinc. The quantitative values for RSH/RSSR and thiol-related enzymes may provide useful means to qualitatively express the oxidant/antioxidant balance in clinical and epidemiologic studies. Identifier: NCT02985905


Oxidative stress Zinc supplementation Thiol Asthenospermia Glutathione peroxidase Sulfhydryl oxidase activity 



Oxidized glutathione


Confidence interval for mean


Reduced glutathione




Selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase


sulfhydryl oxidase


Oxidized thiol


Reduced thiol


Thiol oxido-reductive index


Glutathione peroxidase


non-selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase


Reactive oxygen species


World Health Organization



We want to thank all researchers of the Chemistry Department (College of Science, University of Babylon, Hilla, Iraq) for their help and assistance during chemical analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethical Committee

Iraq: Ethics Committee (University of Babylon/College of Science), Reference number of approval: 545; Date: 22/6/2011.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdul Razzaq S. Alsalman
    • 1
  • Lamia A. Almashhedy
    • 2
  • Mahmoud Hussein Hadwan
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Surgery Department, College of MedicineUniversity of BabylonHillahIraq
  2. 2.Chemistry Department, College of ScienceUniversity of BabylonHillahIraq

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