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Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2001 Mar;73(1):15-25.

[Antioxidant therapeutic efficiency after the use of carnitine in infertile patients with bacterial or non bacterial prostato-vesiculo-epididymitis].

[Article in Italian]

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Istituto di Medicina Interna e Spec. Internistiche (Ospedale Garibaldi), Università degli Studi di Catania, Italia.



In the male genital tract, reactive oxygen species (ROS) overproduction generated by infiltrating WBC or spermatozoa is one of the major causes of defective sperm function. Recently, we demonstrated that prostato-vesiculo-epididymitis (PVE) is the male accessory gland infection more crucial for the establishment of this cellular (sperm and/or WBC oxidative) response. This biochemical stress is due to an imbalance of pro and antioxidants factors and persists even after treatment with antimicrobials. Thus, the antioxidative properties of Carnitines (in terms of combined "Carnitine-Acetil-Carnitine" system) have currently found more attention as part of antimicrobial therapies. In this study, we compared which antioxidative strategy was more beneficial for the treatment of PVE.


We selected two groups of infertile patients. One group consisted of 55 abacterial PVE patients (mean age 34 yrs, range 27-40) (group A); the other included other 35 bacterial PVE patients (mean age 35 yrs, range 28-38) (group B). Each group was randomly subdivided into the following treatment subsets: 1) A1 (n = 14) and B1 (n = 23) subsets received respectively a combined antibiotic and/or antiphlogistic regimen (x 14 days/ monthly x 3 months) (first step) followed by L-Carnitine 1 g x 2 day + acetyl-Carnitine 0.5 g x 2/day x other 3 months (second step) and finally no drug x other 3 months (third step). 2) A2 (n = 8) and B2 (n = 16) subsets received, for a 3 month period, in the meantime the combined antibiotic and/or antiphlogistic regimen (x 14 days/monthly) and L-Carnitine 1 g x 2/day + acetyl-Carnitine 0.5 g x 2/day (first step) and finally no drug x other 3 months (second step). 3) A3 (n = 8) and B3 (n = 12) subsets received for a 3-month period L-Carnitine 1 g x 2/day + acetyl-Carnitine 0.5 g x 2 day (first step) and finally no drug x other 3 months (second step). Before and after each step of the therapeutical design, all patients underwent semen and quantitative bacteriological analyses and 60/90 semen specimens were also investigated about ROS production analysis by chemiluminescence in their 45% and 90% Percoll-generated fractions.


The antioxidative response either in terms of significant decrease in the ROS production and increase in some semen parameters (sperm motility and viability) were highest in the patients of A1/B1 subsets, followed by A2/B2 subsets and lowest in the A3/B3 subsets.


These results indicate that in PVE patients antimicrobials and/or antiphlogistic drugs get a full positive antimicrobial response but a partial antioxidative response, which seems to be potentiated by the addition of antioxidative agents (Carnitines). Furthermore, it is important to underline that the antioxidative treatment with Carnitines administered in the meantime with antiinfectious agents is less effective, and finally this treatment is unsuccessful without the eradication of the pro-oxidant (germs and WBC) agents.

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