Effect of male age on oxidative stress markers in human semen

Su-Ann Drew, Katherine Sanders, Peter Burton

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    This study conducted a comprehensive analysis of oxidative stress markers in human semen within the context of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and investigated if these markers varied according to male age. 148 semen samples were collected from 139 men presenting at Concept Fertility Centre, Western Australia, from 2009 to 2012. Semen analyses were performed and demographic information including smoking status and abstinence period was collected. Reactive oxygen species production, lipid peroxidation, oxidative DNA damage (8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG)), total antioxidant capacity and DNA fragmentation ( terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine diphosphate nick-end labelling) were measured as markers of oxidative stress. Semen parameters and oxidative stress markers were compared against age as a continuous variable, and between males <40 and males ≥40 years of age. Older males aged ≥40 years exhibited higher levels of sperm oxidative DNA damage (8-OHdG) compared to younger males (p = 0.029), but no other oxidative stress marker significantly varied with age. An age-related decrease in sperm concentration (p = 0.011) and motility (p = 0.015) was observed after processing. Lower sperm concentration and reduced motility pre- and post-semen processing were significantly correlated with elevated oxidative DNA damage (all p < 0.001). Our results suggest that oxidative stress may be an important mediator between male age and fertility. This is concerning within the context of an ageing ART cohort, as sperm oxidative DNA damage is associated with a range of suboptimal fertility outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    JournalJournal of Reproductive Biotechnology and Fertility
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2016


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