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La Rivista Italiana della Medicina di Laboratorio 2021 Feb 03

DOI: 10.23736/S1825-859X.21.00086-4

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Seminal plasma pro-inflammatory cytokines and semen quality in overweight and obese men

Nataliia M. KOZOPAS 1 , Natalija D. BOYKIV 1, Uliana S. DOROFEYEVA 2, Roman V. FAFULA 3, Hanna V. MAKSYMYUK 1

1 Department of Clinical Laboratory Diagnostics, Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University, Lviv, Ukraine; 2 IVMED Fertility Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine; 3 Department of Biophysics, Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University, Lviv, Ukraine


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BACKGROUND: The prevalence of obesity has become a global problem. Research findings confirm the presence of a pro-inflammatory state and an increase of oxidative stress in overweight people. However, it is still unclear whether obesity-induced chronic inflammation affects semen quality. We aimed to investigate the effect of increasing body mass index (BMI) on the sperm quality, biochemical parameters and the levels of pro-inflammatory interleukins IL-1β and IL-18 in seminal plasma.
METHODS: A total of 39 men who were examined at a reproductive clinic were included in the study. The participants were distributed into three groups according to the calculated BMI (kg/m2): control group (CG) with normal values (18.5-24.9), overweight (25.0-29.9) and obese (≥30.0). The main sperm parameters were evaluated according to the World Health Organization guidelines (2010). Levels of fructose, citric acid and zinc (Zn) were measured in seminal plasma. The levels of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The study did not include patients with leukospermia (>1x106/ml) and any disorders of the reproductive system (varicocele, epididymitis, prostatitis). The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare groups. A p-value below 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: The median age of obese men was higher than in CG and was 34 (31-38) and 30 (25-34) years, respectively (p=0.04). The overweight group showed a decrease of sperm concentration (p=0.04), progressive motile sperm (p=0.028), and the percentage of normal morphological forms (p<0.001). Instead, there was no significant difference between the main sperm parameters in the obese group and the CG, except for a significantly reduced in number of normal morphological forms (p=0.02). Seminal fructose levels were lower in obese men (p=0.002), whereas citric acid concentrations were significantly increased in the two groups (p<0.01). Nevertheless, overweight and obese patients had a significantly higher concentration of Zn compared to CG (p=0.02 and p=0.04, respectively). The significant decrease in IL-1β, IL-18 levels were observed in the overweight group (p=0.047 and p=0.04, respectively); while the obese group showed only a reduced IL-1β (p<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study demonstrated that most semen parameters were significantly impaired with the growth of BMI. The levels of pro-inflammatory IL-1β, IL-18 in overweight and obese men were lower, but also these groups showed a significant increase in the seminal Zn concentration and citric acid. Larger studies are required to assess signs of low-grade inflammation of the genital tract in overweight and obese men.


KEY WORDS: IL-1β; IL-18; Pro-inflammatory state; Body mass index; Sperm

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