According to the World Health Organization guidelines, ejaculatory abstinence (EA) of 2–7 days is recommended for semen analysis. This study aimed to determine how seminal quality may be affected by two EA periods from the same man. Seminal samples from 65 men were evaluated by conventional semen analysis and qualitative characteristics after 1 and 4 days of EA (two samples/man). The semen was qualitatively analyzed by examining oxidative activity (intracellular and seminal plasma), sperm function (acrosome integrity, mitochondrial activity, and nuclear DNA integrity), and epididymal function. As expected, samples collected after 1 day of EA showed a decrease in volume and sperm total number compared to samples collected after 4 days of EA. The sperm motility of the samples collected after 1 day of EA was better compared to samples collected after 4 days of EA. Oxidative activity measured was lower after 1 day of EA compared with those measured after 4 days of EA. With regards to sperm function, samples collected after 1 day of EA showed an increase in acrosome integrity, mitochondrial activity, and nuclear DNA integrity compared with samples collected after 4 days of EA. Epididymal function showed no difference between the two-time points. Although samples collected after 4 days of EA showed better results for sperm quantity, samples collected after 1 day of EA showed better qualitative results, including motility, oxidative activity, and sperm function. Thus, it can be concluded that sperm storage at the epididymal tail may make spermatozoa more susceptible to oxidative damage.
According to the World Health Organization guidelines, stopping ejaculation for 2 to 7 days is recommended before sperm collection for semen analysis. However, the evidence that supports these recommendations is limited. Our study aimed to compare how sperm quality was affected in samples collected after stopping ejaculation for 1 day and 4 days (two samples per man) in a total of 65 men. Although sample collection after stopping ejaculation for 4 days showed better semen quantity (volume and sperm concentration), sample collection after stopping ejaculation for 1 day showed better sperm motility and function. If not ejaculated, sperm are stored in the epididymis tail located in the scrotum beside the testicles and our study suggests that longer sperm storage may damage sperm quality. The results from this study may be used to inform guidance for sperm collection for use in assisted reproduction techniques, and lead to an improvement in both fertilization and implantation rates.
Varicocele, defined by a dilation of efferent testicular veins, is the most commonly identifiable, surgically correctable lesion associated with male-factor infertility, starts at puberty and causes a progressive decline in fertility potential. The pathophysiology of infertility caused by this disease is still poorly understood, but it is suggested that the main mechanism is oxidative stress. Therefore, the aim of this study was to verify if the varicocele is associated with changes in enzymatic antioxidant mechanisms and seminal plasma lipid peroxidation levels in adolescents. We recruited 90 adolescents that were divided into control (C; n = 27); varicocele and normal semen (VNS; n =46); varicocele and altered semen (VAS; n =17). Seminal and serum levels of lipid peroxidation were quantified by thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Seminal plasma antioxidant profile was evaluated by the activities of catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). The VAS group had increased lipid peroxidation levels when compared to the other groups. The levels of serum lipid peroxidation and activities of the enzymes SOD and GPx did not differ between groups. CAT was undetectable by the method used. In conclusion, in adolescents with varicocele and altered semen analysis, there is an increase in seminal lipid peroxidation levels compared to adolescents with varicocele and without seminal change and adolescents without evident varicocele. However, the observed oxidative stress is not caused by a decrease in superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities, which did not differ between adolescents with and without evident varicocele.
Varicocele, defined by a dilation of efferent testicular veins, is the most commonly identifiable, surgically correctable lesion associated with male-factor infertility, starts at puberty and causes a progressive decline in fertile potential. There is still much that is not understood regarding how exactly it affects semen quality, but most studies agree that oxidative stress, which is defined as excessive amounts of free radicals in relation to antioxidant defense, is an important mechanism. In this study, we aimed to verify if the varicocele is associated with changes in antioxidant defense and semen oxidation in 90 adolescents with and without varicocele. In adolescents with varicocele and abnormal semen, there is an increase in semen oxidation compared to controls or to the group with varicocele and normal semen quality. Our results can help to understand how varicocele leads to infertility in adolescents, identifying changes in oxidative activity in semen, since the onset of varicocele and before damage to sperm production can be detected.