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Keywords:

  • idiopathic infertility;
  • glutathione S-transferase Mu-1;
  • GSTM1 polymorphism;
  • semen;
  • sperm;
  • oxidative stress

Abstract

Aim: To examine whether a relationship exists between glutathione S-transferase Mu-1 (GSTM1) gene polymorphism and the susceptibility of sperm and seminal plasma from patients with idiopathic infertility to oxidative stress. Methods: Fifty-two men with idiopathic infertility and 60 healthy fertile men were recruited to this study. GSTM1 gene polymorphism was determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and both the infertile and control individuals were divided into GSTM1 null and GSTM1 positive groups according to their GSTM1 gene structure. We compared reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, malondialdehyde (MDA), protein carbonyls and glutathione (GSH) concentrations, and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity in seminal plasma and spermatozoa from infertile patients and controls with respect to GSTM1 genotype. Results: Significantly higher levels of oxidative stress and damage markers were found in idiopathic infertile men with the GSTM1 null genotype compared with those with the GSTM1 positive genotype. There was no significant difference in genotype distribution for the GSTM1 variant between the idiopathic infertile subjects and fertile subjects. Patients with the GSTM1 null genotype also had lower sperm concentrations than those with GSTM1 positive genotype. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the susceptibility of sperm and seminal plasma to oxidative stress is significantly greater in idiopathic infertile men with the GSTM1 null genotype compared with those possessing the gene. Therefore, in patients with idiopathic infertility, GSTM1 polymorphism might be an important source of variation in susceptibility of spermatozoa to oxidative damage.

Edited by Prof. Junichi Fujii