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Reprod Biol. 2017 Dec;17(4):370-375. doi: 10.1016/j.repbio.2017.10.003. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Nitric oxide, malondialdheyde and non-enzymatic antioxidants assessed in viable spermatozoa from selected infertile men.

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Dept. of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, Policlinico Le Scotte, Viale Bracci 14, Siena, Italy.
Dept. of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, Policlinico Le Scotte, Viale Bracci 14, Siena, Italy. Electronic address:
Dept. of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Neurosciences, Policlinico Le Scotte, Viale Bracci 14, Siena, Italy.
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana "M. Aleandri", via Appia Nuova 1411, Rome, Italy.


There are growing evidences that the semen of infertile male population shows higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels concomitant with lower antioxidant capacity compared to those detected in semen of fertile population. The plasma membrane of the sperm cell, which has high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, renders it particularly sensitive to ROS. The aim of this study was to compare the sperm parameters (concentration, motility, morphology and vitality) and the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), as marker of lipid peroxidation (LPO), nitric oxide (NO), ascorbic acid (AA), total (GSHt) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) in viable sperm in a group of 38 infertile patients and in a group of 55 control subjects with unknown reproductive potential. The comparison between variables in infertile patients and controls revealed that the sperm quality was reduced in the infertile group, whereas the levels of NO, AA and GSH were significantly increased in viable spermatozoa from infertile men; however, the endogenous levels of MDA were similar in infertile and control groups. Based on our results, we could speculate that the rise of GSHt and AA levels in viable sperm of infertile group help partially to counteract the damaging effect of ROS and partly prevent a substantial LPO. The observation of the concomitant increase of NO and antioxidant indices in viable spermatozoa of infertile subjects is a novel finding and we think that these results can be useful since the viable sperm population is conceivably used in assisted reproductive technology.


Antioxidant system; Endogenous NO; Infertility; MDA; Viable sperm

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