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Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2003) 5, 95–99;

Potential role of reactive oxygen species on testicular pathology associated with infertility

I.T. Koksal, M.Usta, I. Orhan, S. Abbasoglu, A.Kadioglu

Department of Urology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey

Advance online publication 1 June 2003


Aim: To investigate the level of malondialdehyde (MDA), a direct indicator of lipid peroxidation-induced injury by reactive oxygen species (ROS), in testicular biopsy specimens from infertile patients. Methods: Levels of MDA were measured in testicular biopsy specimens from 29 consequent-randomized infertile men, aged 29.584.76 (21~45) years. All patients were evaluated by a complete medical and reproductive history, physical examination, semen analysis (at least two), serum follicle-stimulating hormone and free testosterone levels, testicular biopsy and contact imprint. Scrotal colour Doppler ultrasonography was used to confirm suspected varicocele. The testicular MDA level was measured using the thiobarbituric acid test and the results were expressed per unit tissue weight. Results: As a causal factor in infertility, varicocele was identified in 17 (58.6 %) patients, and idiopathic infertility, testicular failure and obstruction in 4 (13.8 %) patients each. The testicular MDA level was 13.56 (6.01), 49.56 (24.04), 58.53 (48.07), and 32.64 (21.51), 32.72 (13.61), 23.07 (7.82), 42,12 (34.76) pmol/mg tissue in the normal spermatogenesis (control), late maturation arrest, Sertoli cell only (SCO) and hypospermatogenesis (mild, moderete, severe) groups, respectively. The elevation of MDA levels was significant in the testicular tissue from SCO and maturation arrest groups compared with the controls (P<0.05). In addition, the elevation in testicular MDA levels between the SCO and the moderete hypospermatogenesis, and the moderate hypospermatogenesis and the maturation arrest groups was significant (P<0.05). Conclusion: Severe pathologic changes in the testicular tissue are associated with a high level of lipid peroxidation. These findings suggest that overproduction of ROS may play a role in the mechanism of testicular degeneration associated with infertility.

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