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Andrologia. 2019 Feb;51(1):e13147. doi: 10.1111/and.13147. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

Association between leptin, obesity, hormonal interplay and male infertility.

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Department of Physiology, Ziauddin University, Karachi, Pakistan.
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
Department of Physiology, University Medical and Dental College, the University of Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Department of Biological & Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.


Male infertility is a major health problem worldwide. We investigated a possible association between leptin, obesity, hormonal interplay and male infertility. This cross-sectional study of 313 males (178 infertile and 135 fertile) was carried out in 2017. The subjects were categorised by body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage (BF%) into normal weight, overweight and obese. Significantly higher levels of BMI and BF% (p-value < 0.001) and lower levels of FSH, LH, testosterone, and SHBG (p-value < 0.001) were found in infertile males. However, no significant difference was observed in leptin levels (p-value = 0.35). Leptin levels were significantly higher, and all the sex hormones were significantly lower (p-value < 0.001) in obese subjects, whereas according to BF% only leptin, FSH and SHBG were significantly different. Leptin showed a significant positive correlation with BMI and BF% (p < 0.001). A strong positive link to serum testosterone was found with age, FSH, and LH (p < 0.001) and a negative one with BMI and BF% (p < 0.001). In mutivariable anlaysis, after adjusting for the other covariates, a significant association between FSH and testosterone (p-value <0.001) was found. Serum leptin levels did not differ significantly in fertile and infertile groups, and no association was found with infertility. Furthermore, male obesity was found to be associated with infertility with the decrease in levels of sex hormones.


BMI; leptin; male infertility; obesity; sex hormones

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