Objective: To examine the effect of oxidation of proteins and lipids, as measured by a novel thermochemiluminescence (TCL) analyzer, and to evaluate the correlation between TCL indices in seminal plasma and sperm parameters.
Design: Experimental and prospective clinical studies.
Setting: An infertility unit.
Patient(s): One hundred forty-eight men undergoing semen analysis.
Intervention(s): Bovine serum albumin (BSA) and linolenic acid were oxidized and tested by TCL, protein carbonyls, and conjugated dienes assays. All participants underwent semen analysis. Seminal plasma was tested by TCL and conjugated dienes.
Main outcome measure(s): Thermochemiluminescence indices before and after oxidation of BSA and linolenic acid, compared with protein carbonyl and conjugated dienes indices. Correlation between semen parameters and TCL and conjugated dienes indices in seminal plasma.
Result(s): Oxidation of BSA and linolenic acid was marked by characteristic changes in their TCL curve pattern and an increase in the levels of protein carbonyls and conjugated dienes. Among 125 sperm-containing semen samples, the TCL curve exhibited two patterns: a positive relative ratio curve (group A, 87 patients) and a negative relative ratio curve (group B, 38 patients). Sperm concentration was lower and total motile sperm and rapid motile sperm were fewer in group B. A significant correlation was found between TCL indices, conjugated dienes, and sperm quality in group B.
Conclusion(s): Oxidation affects TCL curve pattern of proteins and lipids in a characteristic manner. Thermochemiluminescence indices in seminal plasma closely correlate with sperm characteristics among patients with sperm disturbances, and it might serve as a tool in the evaluation, treatment, and monitoring of subfertile men.