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Reprod Biomed Online. 2014 Jun;28(6):684-703. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

Sperm DNA damage caused by oxidative stress: modifiable clinical, lifestyle and nutritional factors in male infertility.

Author information

1
MEDIVICE Independent Research, 10 Eden Crescent, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, Ireland. Electronic address: ciara.wright@medivice.ie.
2
Positive Nutrition, 'Orwellness', 10 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6, Ireland.
3
Positive Nutrition, 'Orwellness', 10 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6, Ireland. Electronic address: heather@positivenutrition.ie.

Abstract

DNA fragmentation is an important factor in the aetiology of male infertility. However, it is still underevaluated and its inclusion in routine semen analysis is debated. DNA fragmentation has been shown to be a robust indicator of fertility potential, more so than conventional semen parameters. Men with high DNA fragmentation levels have significantly lower odds of conceiving, naturally or through procedures such as intrauterine insemination and IVF. Couples may be counselled to proceed directly to intracytoplasmic sperm injection as it is more successful in this group, avoiding costly procedures, recurrent failures or pregnancy losses; however, this treatment is not without limitations or risks. Ideally DNA fragmentation should be minimized where possible. Oxidative stress is the major cause of DNA fragmentation in spermatozoa. Endogenous and exogenous factors that contribute to oxidative stress are discussed, and in many cases are shown to be easily modifiable. Antioxidants play a protective role, although a delicate balance of reduction and oxidation is required for essential functions, including fertilization. Reducing oxidative stress may improve a couple's chances of conception either naturally or via assisted reproduction. Sources of oxidative stress therefore should be thoroughly examined in men with high levels of DNA fragmentation and modified where possible. DNA fragmentation is an important factor in the aetiology of male infertility. However it is still underevaluated and its inclusion in routine semen analysis is still debated. DNA fragmentation has been shown to be a robust indicator of fertility potential, more so than conventional semen parameters. Men with high levels of DNA fragmentation will have significantly lower odds of conceiving naturally or through procedures such as intrauterine insemination and IVF. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be much more successful in this group, and couples may be counselled to proceed directly to ICSI, avoiding costly procedures, recurrent failures or pregnancy losses. However, ICSI is not without its limitations or risks. Ideally, DNA fragmentation should be investigated and minimized where possible in men trying to conceive naturally or through assisted reproduction technology. Oxidative stress is the major cause of DNA fragmentation in spermatozoa. Endogenous and exogenous factors that contribute to oxidative stress are discussed and in many cases are easily modifiable. Antioxidants play a protective role, although a delicate balance of reduction and oxidation is required for essential sperm function, including fertilization. Reducing oxidative stress may improve a couple's chances of conception either naturally or via assisted reproduction treatment. Sources of oxidative stress therefore should be thoroughly examined in men with high levels of DNA fragmentation and modified where possible.

KEYWORDS:

DNA fragmentation; ICSI; ROS; antioxidants; male infertility; oxidative stress

PMID:
24745838
DOI:
10.1016/j.rbmo.2014.02.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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