Fertility and Oxidative Stress Insights into Novel Redox Mechanisms

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.


Oxidative stress is a known factor in human fertility. It is known to affect gene expression and protein levels, and researchers have begun to study its effects. Researchers Ruder EH and Goldman MB are leading experts in this area. Other researchers, such as Attaran M, have been studying the effects of reactive oxygen species in the follicular fluid of pregnant women. Their results have been published in the International Journal of Fertility and Womens Medicine.

Impact of reactive oxygen species on sperm motility

In human sperm, the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can cause pathological changes, such as impaired motility. These oxidants can also impair the viability of sperm. Low ROS concentrations are beneficial to sperm physiology, as they promote hyperactivation, capacitation, and acrosome reaction. However, too much ROS can lead to pathological conditions.

In experiments, researchers found that LPS stimulates oxidative stress by increasing ROS levels in semen, which can interfere with sperm motility. The sperm motility was assessed by a sperm quality analyzer, and ROS levels in the semen were assessed using the Berthold luminometer.

During fertilisation, spermatozoa must undergo a process called acrosome reaction. This process requires the activation of the spermatozoal enzyme, adenylate cyclase, and the production of desmosterol. In the sperm, exogenous sphingomyelinase can accelerate this process and cause the sperm to lose its sterols.

Infertility is a major problem that affects one out of every five couples in the world. More than half of these cases can be traced to men, where environmental pollutants, lifestyle factors, and diseases can negatively impact the spermatozoon. This in turn affects male fertility.

In sperm, high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are found in the plasma membrane. DHA is a particularly important component in membrane fluidity. The content of DHA is higher in immature spermatozoa, and decreases as the sperm matures. The content of phosphatidylserine (PS) is also lowered in mature sperm.

The researchers used a sperm quality analyzer to analyze the quality of the sperm. The machine provided quantitative estimations of the sperm motility index, which is a measure of sperm motility. For three consecutive readings, semen was placed in a glass capillary tube housed in a plastic casing with a two-mm-diameter optical aperture. The mean of these measurements was taken for each sample.

When spermatozoa undergo cryopreservation, excessive production of ROS results in structural changes, which lower the antioxidant activity of spermatozoa, exposing them to high levels of ROS. Fortunately, there are natural antioxidants such as astaxanthin (AXT) that can combat the damage caused by ROS and increase sperm quality. AXT can also improve sperm quality during freezing-thawing.

Role of reactive oxygen species in modulation of gamete interaction

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are highly reactive chemicals that originate from diatomic oxygen. They include superoxide, hydroxyl radical, singlet oxygen, and alpha-oxygen. These molecules are produced by a wide variety of agents, including pollutants, heavy metals, tobacco smoke, and drugs. High temperatures and interactions with other living organisms also affect the production of ROS.

A low ROS concentration is required to drive the signal transduction processes associated with sperm capacitation. However, too much ROS can cause oxidative stress and reduce the gamete's fertilizing potential and capacity to support normal embryonic development.

Role of reactive oxygen species in modulation of ovulation

Reactive oxygen species play an important role in the modulation of ovulation and female reproductive health. Their presence is necessary for the process to occur. This effect is mediated by the actions of reactive oxygen species on intralovarian artery pulsatility and resistance, as well as on the corpus luteum. They have been found to interfere with the production of progesterone, a key reproductive hormone, and can impair ovulation.

Until now, studies on oxidative stress and fertility have mainly focused on individual diseases. However, recent research has revealed new pathways for OS and female reproduction, including new signaling mechanisms. These findings are relevant for understanding the relationship between oxidative stress and female reproduction. These discoveries have implications for ovarian function and blastocyst development in various mammalian species.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced during female reproduction, and are implicated in a variety of reproductive diseases, including ovarian cancer. Oxidative stress has also been linked to pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia and endometriosis. In addition, ROS play an important role in gamete interaction, and ROS in culture media can affect post-fertilization development, blastocyst yield, and assisted reproductive outcomes.

Reactive oxygen species are signal molecules that regulate many physiological processes. They play a major role in the development of the oocyte, fertilization, embryo development, and pregnancy. They are also involved in the age-related decline of fertility.

Assisted reproductive techniques are widely used to help infertile couples conceive. These techniques include intrauterine insemination and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Researchers are investigating if oxidative stress is the primary cause of these reproductive problems.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in many physiological processes, including reproductive and age-related infertility. Overproduction of these molecules can interfere with cellular functions and contribute to infertility, miscarriage, and reproductive aging. Moreover, excessive exposure to oxidative stress is associated with the onset of pregnancy-related diseases, including IUGR and gestational diabetes.

Reactive oxygen species are also involved in the ovulation process. The presence of these molecules may alter ovulation induction and affect the quality of oocytes.

Role of reactive oxygen species in endometriosis

The role of ROS in the pathogenesis of endometriosis has recently been highlighted in a study. The authors observed that endometriotic cells exhibit elevated levels of endogenous oxidative stress, as well as an altered MAP kinase pathway, in addition to increased cellular proliferation and activation of the ERK1/2 pathway. These abnormalities may contribute to the development of menstrual regurgitation and pseudotumor disease.

Studies have found that the release of reactive oxygen species increases the growth and adhesion of endometrial cells in the peritoneal cavity, which may contribute to endometriosis and infertility. However, there is no single cause of endometriosis. Rather, it is believed to be the result of an imbalance between ROS and antioxidants.

The role of reactive oxygen species in endometriogenesis is not fully understood, but these molecules contribute to the pathogenesis of endometriosis. Reactive oxygen species have been linked with a gene known as ARID1A, which is frequently downregulated and inactivated in women with endometriosis. The current study aims to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying the correlation between ARID1A gene expression and oxidative stress.

However, published studies on the relationship between endometriosis and oxidation have been inconsistent. Interestingly, one study reported that oxidative stress was correlated with lower levels of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in the peritoneal fluid compared to fertility-matched controls. The authors noted that these enzymes play an important role in preventing oxidative stress and oxidation.

Antioxidants are important molecules that counteract ROS' damaging aggression. These compounds can be endogenous or exogenous. Antioxidants are produced in response to environmental, nutritional, and physiological factors. The antioxidative system counterbalances the production of ROS, while the majority of generated ROS have no significant physiological effects.

In endometriosis, oxidative stress may contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease. This process may include enhanced cell survival and apoptosis. Antioxidants are also implicated in the progression of cancer, as they may favor a protumoral microenvironment. Moreover, the balance between antioxidant and oxidant functions is important for the development of cancer.

In endometriosis, increased levels of ROS are associated with the development of ectopic endometriosis (EMs). ROS also play a role in signaling and in early phases of autophagy. Autophagy also reduces ROS levels. Moreover, it can lead to cell death, which is a significant factor in the progression of EMs.


Infertility is a major problem that affects approximately one in six couples in developed industrialized countries, and oxidative stress is believed to be one of the major causes. Excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) interferes with basic reproductive processes by disrupting cellular structures. The effects are multifaceted and include changes in DNA, lipids, and proteins.

Oxidative stress is thought to be the root cause of many disease conditions, and a balance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants is critical for cellular health. When the levels of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are elevated, the antioxidant system is compromised. The resulting imbalance results in numerous cellular dysfunctions.

Oxidative stress is also linked to impaired sperms, which contributes to infertility. Sperm DNA contains nucleohistone compartments, which are highly susceptible to oxidative stress. An impaired sperm is thought to cause infertility through a relative decrease in the amount of protamine 2. Genetic mutations in protamines result in structural changes in the sperm chromatin, resulting in impaired sperm function and infertility.

Reactive species play a vital role in the capacitation of sperm and the acrosome reaction, two important steps in sperm fertilization. Furthermore, NO precursors are known to increase mitochondrial energy production and motility. The study of the relationship between oxidative stress and fertility provides new insight into fundamental processes of fertilization.