Document Type : Original Article
Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, Iran
Chemical Injuries Research Center, Systems Biology and Poisonings Institute, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Background: Semen hyperviscosity is a threatening cause of abnormal spermatozoa and infertility in men. We aimed
to evaluate oxidative stress, antioxidants depletion and sperm apoptosis as main reasons for poor quality of spermatozoa
in men with hyperviscous semen.
Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, ejaculate specimens were collected from fertile (n=102) and
infertile men with hyperviscous semen (n=123) and without semen hyperviscosity (n=143). Total antioxidant capacity
(TAC), glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA), protein carbonyl (PC), 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG),
and were measured in semen samples to estimate oxidative stress status. Gene expression pattern of BAX, CASPASE-9,
CASPASE-3, and BCL2 was assessed to estimate sperm apoptosis.
Results: The average of sperm count, normal morphology, normal motility, and sperm vitality in men with hyperviscous
semen was significantly lower than infertile subjects without hyperviscous semen (P<0.01). Men with hyperviscous semen
exhibited higher levels of PC (8.34 ± 1.03 nmol/mg vs. 6.01 ± 0.93 nmol/mg, P=0.008), MDA (1.14 ± 0.27 nmol/
ml vs. 0.89 ± 0.22 nmol/ml, P=0.031), 8-OHdG (259.71 ± 24.59 ng/ml vs. 197.13 ± 18.47 ng/ml, P=0.009), but lower
TAC contents (1250.44 ± 66.23 μM/L vs. 1784.31 ± 89.87 μM/L, P=0.018) and GSH (3.82 ± 1.05 μM vs. 5.89 ± 0.87
μM, P=0.021) than men with non-viscous semen. The expression of BAX, CASPASE-3 and CASPASE-9 genes in men
with hyperviscous semen was significantly increased by 1.39-fold (P=0.041), 1.47-fold (P=0.046), 1.29-fold (P=0.048),
respectively, as compared with the infertile subjects without hyperviscous semen. However, BCL2 expression in infertile
men without hyperviscous semen was higher compared to those with hyperviscous semen (1.36-fold, P=0.044).
Conclusion: Hyperviscous semen is markedly associated with depletion of seminal plasma antioxidants, sperm membrane
lipid peroxidation, DNA and protein oxidation, and sperm apoptosis. Antioxidant therapy might be considered as a
valuable strategy to protect sperm cells against oxidative damage in cases with seminal fluid hyperviscosity.