Seminal quality correlates with mitochondrial functionality

Clin Chim Acta. 2000 Oct;300(1-2):97-105. doi: 10.1016/s0009-8981(00)00305-3.


Oligozoospermia is an important manifestation of male subfertility and very little attention has been paid to study a possible relationship between the total number of ejaculated spermatozoa and mitochondrial functionality. In this work we report a direct correlation between spectrophotometrically measured mitochondrial enzyme activities (citrate synthase and respiratory complex I, II, I+III, II+III and IV) and seminogram parameters (sperm motility, vitality and cell concentration). In addition, total ejaculated spermatozoa correlate much better with the nuclear-encoded citrate synthase and complex II than with the mitochondrial-encoded complex I, III and IV activities. Furthermore, total number of spermatozoa has a significant but negative correlation with the ratios of complex I, complex III and complex IV to complex II (and citrate synthase). These ratios are significantly higher in aged subjects emphasizing the physiological relevance of this observation. These results suggest that the simultaneous increase of the number of ejaculated spermatozoa and the mitochondrial enrichment of citrate synthase and complex II are both parallel responses to the same regulatory events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Semen / enzymology
  • Semen / physiology*