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Int J Urol. 2009 May;16(5):449-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2042.2009.02280.x. Epub 2009 Apr 6.

Role of antioxidants in the treatment of male infertility.

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Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Male infertility continues to be a clinical challenge of increasing significance. While male factors such as decreased semen quality are responsible for 25% of all infertility issues, the etiology of suboptimal semen quality is poorly understood. Many physiological, environmental, and genetic factors have been implicated, including oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals, and although ROS are required for critical aspects of sperm function, excessive levels of ROS can negatively impact sperm quality. The origin of ROS generation, and the etiologies of increased ROS in men with suboptimal sperm quality have only recently been elucidated, offering multiple targets for potential therapy. Here, we present a critical review of the literature describing the role of oxidative stress on decreased sperm function, as well as the role of antioxidants in the treatment of male factor infertility.

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