Physiologic and pathologic levels of reactive oxygen species in neat semen of infertile men

Fertil Steril. 2009 Nov;92(5):1626-31. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.08.109. Epub 2008 Oct 19.


Objective: To define physiologic levels of reactive oxygen species in infertile men and establish a cutoff value of reactive oxygen species level in neat semen with a high sensitivity and specificity to differentiate infertile men from fertile donors (controls).

Design: Reactive oxygen species levels were measured in the neat semen samples (n = 51) from fertile donors and infertile patients (n = 54).

Setting: Reproductive research laboratory at a tertiary care hospital.

Patient(s): Infertile patients from male infertility clinic.

Intervention(s): Reactive oxygen species measurement in neat semen sample using luminol-based chemiluminescence method, receiver operating characteristic curves.

Main outcome measure(s): Seminal reactive oxygen species levels, cutoff value, sensitivity and specificity, positive and negative predictive values.

Result(s): The best cutoff value to distinguish between healthy fertile donors and infertile men was 0.0185 x 10(6) counted photons per minute/20 x 10(6) sperm. At this threshold, the specificity was 82% and the sensitivity was 78%. This value can be defined as basal reactive oxygen species level in infertile men.

Conclusion(s): Reactive oxygen species levels in neat semen samples as measured by luminol-based chemiluminescence are a highly specific and sensitive test in the diagnosis of infertility. This test also may help clinicians treat patients with seminal oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fertility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism*
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / analysis*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Reference Values
  • Semen / chemistry*
  • Semen / metabolism
  • Semen Analysis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Reactive Oxygen Species