Oxidative stress and male infertility: A cross sectional study

Rehana Rehman, Sofia Amjad, Hemaila Tariq, Nida Zahid, Masnoon Akhter, Mussarat Ashraf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To compare stress markers and antioxidants in fertile and infertile males, and to explore their effects on reproductive hormones and fertility. Methods: The cross-sectional case-control study was conducted from July 2017 to July 2018 at the Islamabad Clinic Serving Infertile Couples, Islamabad, Pakistan, and comprised male subjects aged 25- 55 years. Infertile subjects were the cases, while healthy fertile males acted as the controls. Stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and antioxidants glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Data was analysed using SPSS 22. Results: Of the 376 subjects, 241(64%) were cases and 135(36%) were controls. Median cortisol, adrenaline, superoxide dismutase and glutathione levels were significantly higher among the cases compared to te controls (p<0.05). Follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels were higher in cases compared to the controls (p=0.05). Mean testosterone level was higher among the controls than the cases (p<0.001). After adjusting for other covariates, every increase of 7 units in cortisol increased the prevalence of infertility by 3% (p=0.001). There was significant interaction between luteinizing hormone and testosterone in the final model (p<0.05). Conclusion: Stress together with decrease in antioxidants was found to play a significant role in reducing the fertilising potential of male infertile subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-466
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cortisol
  • Glutathione peroxidase
  • Male infertility
  • Oxidative stress


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