Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the Relationship between Obesity and Male Infertility

Metabolites. 2021 Dec 4;11(12):840. doi: 10.3390/metabo11120840.


In recent decades, the worldwide prevalence of obesity has risen dramatically and is currently estimated to be around 20%. Obesity is linked to an increased risk of comorbidities and premature mortality. Several studies have shown that obesity negatively impacts male fertility through various mechanisms. This review aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms through which obesity impairs male reproduction, including obesity-associated hypogonadism and its effects on spermatogenesis, chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress. Obesity negatively impacts both conventional and biofunctional sperm parameters, and it also induces epigenetic changes that can be transferred to offspring. Moreover, obesity-related diseases are linked to a dysregulation of adipocyte function and micro-environmental inflammatory processes. The dysregulated adipokines significantly influence insulin signaling, and they may also have a detrimental effect on testicular function. Sirtuins can also play an important role in inflammatory and metabolic responses in obese patients. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that are involved in obesity-induced male infertility could increase our ability to identify novel targets for the prevention and treatment of obesity and its related consequences.

Keywords: adipokines; male fertility; obesity; sirtuins; sperm parameters.

Publication types

  • Review