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J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Jun;7(6):991-5. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2013/4974.3040. Epub 2013 Jun 1.

The total antioxidant power of semen and its correlation with the fertility potential of human male subjects.

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Junior Resident, Department of Physiology, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences , Sevagram, Wardha 442102, India .



There are growing evidences that the damage which is caused to the spermatozoa by the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) plays a key role in the male infertility. The seminal plasma is endowed with many enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants which protect the spermatozoa against oxidative stress.The present study was undertaken by using a simple, colourimetric, ferric reducing, antioxidant power for assessing the total antioxidant power rather than the individual antioxidants. The measurement of the individual antioxidants in the seminal plasma, such as Superoxide Dismutase, Vitamin E, etc. is time consuming, which often requires sophisticated and expensive techniques and these measurements may not correlate with the quality of semen.


To evaluate the total antioxidant capacity of seminal plasma by estimating the Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) of semen in different groups of subjects and to correlate it with the different seminogram parameters.


The semen samples were obtained from 150 male partners of infertile couples who attended the Reproductive Biology Unit (Infertility Clinic) of the Department of Physiology, MGIMS, Sevagram, who were aged 20-58 years and they were analyzed for the routine seminogram parameters. All the subjects were categorized into two main groups, A. The subjects with abnormal ejaculates, who were further sub classified into the following groups i) Asthenoteratozoospermics (n=25) ii) Oligoasthenoteratozoospermics (n=26) and iii) Azoospermics (n=19) and B. The subjects with normal ejaculates (n=80). The total antioxidant power was measured spectrophotometrically by using the Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) assay.


The Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC) was found to be significantly lower in the abnormal ejaculates than in the normal ejaculates. A statistically significant positive correlation was observed between the TAC and all the seminogram parameters such as the sperm concentration, sperm motility and sperm morphology (p<0.05).


A decreased seminal plasma antioxidant capacity (TAC) could have significant role in the aetiology of impaired sperm functions. So, the tac may be used as specific biomarker for assessing the oxidative stress in sperms.


Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP); Male infertility; Seminal plasma; Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC)

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