The current study evaluated levels of macro-/trace elements, select cytokines, and sperm quality, in the semen of men with abnormal spermograms. The study population of men with abnormal spermograms was divided into three groups, i.e., oligospermic, asthenozoospermic, and oligoasthenozoospermic. The control group was fertile men with normal semen parameters. Analyses showed that in comparison with that in the semen of the fertile men, levels of calcium, magnesium, and selenium were significantly lower in men with all three groups. Semen levels of zinc were significantly lower in men with asthenospermia as compared with that in control. GGT (gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase) activity in semen was significantly higher in men in any of the three states as compared with that seen in control semen. In contrast, semen ALT (alanine aminotransferase) activity was reduced in men with any of these abnormalities compared with that in the controls. Semen cholesterol levels were significantly lower in men with asthenospermia as compared with control semen. Of all the measured cytokines, only IL-5 levels were reduced in the semen of the men with any of the conditions as compared with control semen. The semen of infertile males is characterized by reduced levels of calcium, magnesium, and trace metals such as zinc and selenium. The study also indicated that measures of cholesterol and of GGT/ALT activities could serve as supplementary parameters indicative of semen quality. Further investigations are needed to clarify the role of the measured parameters in sperm physiology.
Keywords: Immune response; Infertility; Macroelements; Trace metals.