Resistance exercise modulates male factor infertility through anti-inflammatory and antioxidative mechanisms in infertile men: A RCT

Life Sci. 2018 Jun 15;203:150-160. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2018.04.039. Epub 2018 Apr 23.


Aims: Inflammation and oxidative stress appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of male factor infertility. Exercise training has been shown to strengthen antioxidant defenceses and attenuate inflammation across body fluids, organs and tissues. However, the effect of resistance exercise training upon male factor infertility is unknown. Our aim was to investigate the effects of resistance exercise training on markers of male reproduction and reproductive performance in infertile patients.

Main methods: This study evaluated the changes in seminal oxidative stress status, inflammatory biomarkers, semen parameters, sperm DNA integrity and pregnancy rate following 24 weeks of resistance exercise in infertile patients. A total of 1228 sedentary infertile patient (aged 25-40 years) were screened and 430 were randomized to exercise (EX, n = 216) and non-exercise (NON-EX, n = 214) groups. Semen samples were taken before, 12 and 24 weeks as well as 7 and 30 days during recovery.

Key findings: Exercise intervention favorably attenuated inflammation as indicated by seminal cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α), oxidative stress (SOD, MDA and 8-isoprostane) and enhanced antioxidants (SOD and catalase) (P < 0.05), and these changes correlate with favorable improvements in semen parameters, sperm DNA integrity and pregnancy rate in this cohort of infertile patients (P < 0.05).

Significance: Taken together, resistance exercise training improves markers of male reproduction and reproductive performance through inflammatory and oxidative stress mechanisms in infertile patients.

Keywords: Inflammation; Male factor infertility; Randomized controlled trial; Redox homeostasis resistance training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents*
  • Antioxidants*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / therapy*
  • Live Birth
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Prognosis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Resistance Training
  • Spermatozoa / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Reactive Oxygen Species