Sperm fatty acid composition in subfertile men

Published:August 10, 2006DOI:



      The lipid composition of spermatozoa plays an important role for successful fertilization.

      Patients and methods

      In the present study, we analyzed the fatty acid (FA) composition of spermatozoa of normozoospermic, asthenozoospermic, oligozoospermic and oligoasthenozoospermic men.


      Spermatozoa from asthenozoospermic (P<0.01), oligozoospermic (P<0.05) and oligoasthenozoospermic men (P<0.05) had lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6w3, DHA) than those from normozoospermic men. In oligozoospermic and asthenozoospermic men, spermatozoa 18:0 content was higher than that of normozoospermics (P<0.01 and P<0.001, respectively). 18:1w9 was higher in oligoasthenozoospermic and oligozoospermic samples when compared with normozoospermic samples (P<0.05 for both). While from the point of view of total w6 FAs there was no significant difference among the groups, the w6/w3 ratio was significantly higher in asthenozoospermic samples than in normozoospermic samples (P<0.05). Monounsaturated fatty acids (MFA) were higher in oligozoospermic samples (P<0.05) than in normozoospermic samples, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were lower in asthenozoospermic (P<0.01), oligoasthenozoospermic (P<0.05) and oligozoospermic samples (P<0.05) than in normozoospermic samples.
      Saturated fatty acids (SFA) were significantly higher in asthenozoospermic (P<0.01) and oligozoospermic samples (P<0.05) compared with normozoospermic samples. In correlation analysis, there were significant positive correlations between DHA with sperm motility ( r = 0.53 ), sperm concentration ( r = 0.36 ) and normal sperm morphology ( r = 0.30 ). In addition, there were significant correlations between PUFA with sperm motility ( r = 0.50 ), sperm concentration ( r = 0.35 ), and normal sperm morphology ( r = 0.28 ), and between w6/w3 with sperm motility ( r = - 0.47 ), sperm concentration ( r = - 0.27 ), and normal sperm morphology( r = - 0.24 ).


      These suggest that decreased DHA and PUFA, and increased w6/w3 in spermatozoa may be related to infertility in oligo- and/or asthenozoospermic men.
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