Role of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants on pathophysiology of male reproduction

M. Maneesh, H. Jayalekshmi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


The excessive generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by abnormal spermatozoa and contaminating leukocytes has been defined as one of the few etiologies for male infertility. Administration of antioxidants in patients with 'male factor' infertility has begun to attract considerable interest. The main difficulty of such an approach is our incomplete understanding of the role of free radicals in normal and abnormal sperm function leading to male infertility. Mammalian spermatozoa membranes are very sensitive to free radical induced damage mediated by lipid peroxidation, as they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Limited endogenous mechanisms exist to reverse these damages. ROS attacks the fluidity of the sperm plasma membrane and the integrity of DNA in the sperm nucleus. ROS induced DNA damage accelerate the germ cell apoptosis. Unfortunately spermatozoa are unable to repair the damage induced by excessive ROS as they lack the cytoplasmic enzymes required to accomplish the repair. Assessment of such oxidative stress status (OSS) may help in the medical treatment. Treatment strategies must be directed toward lowering of ROS levels to keep only a small amount necessary to maintain normal cell function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalIndian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21-11-2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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