Influence of ejaculatory abstinence on seminal total antioxidant capacity and sperm membrane lipid peroxidation

Capsule:
A single day of ejaculatory abstinence (EA) compared with 4 days of EA increased seminal total antioxidant capacity without a measurable effect on sperm membrane lipid peroxidation.

Authors:
Paul Marshburn, M.D., Allie Giddings, M.D., Stephanie Causby, M.Sc., Michelle L. Matthews, M.D., Rebecca S. Usadi, M.D., Nury Steuerwald, Ph.D., Bradley S. Hurst, M.D.

Volume 102, Issue 3, Pages 705-710

Abstract:

Objective:
To determine whether the period of ejaculatory abstinence (EA) influences the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of semen or lipid peroxidation (LPO) of sperm membranes.

Design:
A prospective experimental trial.

Setting:
Academic medical center for reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Patient(s):
Forty men from infertile couples planning intrauterine insemination.

Intervention(s):
Men provided semen specimens after EA periods of 1 and 4 days.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Semen analysis, peroxidase staining, and assays for seminal TAC and sperm membrane LPO, with measures compared between days 1 and 4 within individuals (internal control) using paired t tests.

Result(s):
The shorter period of EA (1 day vs. 4 days) resulted in statistically significant decreases in semen volume (−24%), sperm density (−28%), and total sperm count (−3.2%). There was a statistically significant increase in TAC with the shorter period of EA (1 day) compared with 4 days of EA. No difference was detected in sperm membrane LPO comparing 1 day of EA and 4 days of EA.

Conclusion(s):
Higher seminal TAC obtained after a shorter period of EA could diminish oxidative stress–induced sperm damage by a mechanism independent of LPO. Shorter periods of EA may thus improve sperm quality by protecting from reactive oxygen species damage, even though lower numbers of motile sperm are produced after a shorter period of EA. This would be consistent with prior research indicating improved results after intrauterine insemination under these circumstances.

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