Effect of oxidative stress in male infertility

Mymensingh Med J. 2013 Jan;22(1):136-42.


Infertility is a medical and social problem all over the world. Infertility results from abnormality of the male partners in almost 50% of cases. Oxidative stress is involved with many chronic pathological conditions and the current study was designed to evaluate any association that may exist between male infertility and oxidative stress. Infertile male patients (having female partners with normal fertility parameters; n=31) and age- matched healthy male fertile control subjects (n=30) were randomly selected from the Infertility Unit of the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. As a marker of oxidative stress-induced lipid peroxidation, erythrocyte and seminal plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were measured in fertile and otherwise healthy infertile male subjects. In addition, antioxidant capacity was evaluated by measuring erythrocyte and seminal plasma glutathione (reduced form, GSH) concentrations in fertile and infertile male subjects. The MDA and GSH levels were measured by thiobarbituric acid method and Elmans method respectively. The median (range) MDA level of erythrocyte was found significantly higher in infertile male subjects compared with healthy fertile male subjects 24.23(3.71-42.21) vs. 12.84(1.30-24.00)nmol/gm Hb p<0.001. However, the erythrocyte GSH level did not differ between the two groups 12.62(0.67-29.82) versus 13.93 (2.10-21.08)mg/gm Hb. In case of seminal plasma, the median (range) MDA level was found significantly higher in infertile group 3.17 (1.20-6.21) versus 1.88(0.50-5.37)nmol/ml, p<0.001. In addition, the seminal plasma GSH level was found markedly suppressed in infertile group compared with fertile group 1.64(0.23-7.50) versus 4.26(2.32-7.50)mg/dl, p<0.001. Taken together, infertile male patients show an elevation of oxidative stress markers both in the erythrocytes and in the seminal plasma. Indicating that male infertility might be associated with increased oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Semen / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Glutathione