Status of Zinc and Copper Concentrations in Seminal Plasma of Male Infertility and Their Correlation with Various Sperm Parameters


ABSTRACT:BACKGROUND:Human semen contains high concentrations of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) in bound and ionic forms .Thepresence of abnormal levels of these trace elements may affect spermatogenesis with regard to production, maturation , motility , and fertilizing capacity of the spermatozoa. The aim of this study is to evaluatethe levels of Zn and Cu in seminal plasma in different groups of male infertility and to correlate theirconcentrations with various semen parameters.METHODS:Forty primary infertile male individuals ,who had regular unprotected intercourse for at least one yearwithout conception with their partners ,aged 25-40 years were involved in the present study .After seminalplasma fluid analyses they were grouped as, azoospermic (n=12), oligoasthenozoospermic (n=16) ,andteratozoospermic (n=12) .Twelve fertile males selected from general population and after seminal fluidinvestigation were taken as normospermic control group .Zinc and Copper concentrations in separatedseminal plasma of each infertile male and fertile control subject were determined by atomic absorptionspectrophotometer.RESULTS:This study showed significant decrease of seminal plasma Zn mean (+SEM) value inoligoasthenozoospermic infertile males than in fertile male controls (p<0.037) .In azoospermic males, themean (+SEM) value of seminal plasma Zn levels was decreased (but still beyond the significantlevel,p=0.08) when compared with that of fertile males. With regard to seminal plasma copper level therewas insignificant decrease in its level in azoospermic males and insignificant increase in its concentrationin oligoasthenozoospermic and in teratozoospermic males when compared with that of healthy fertilemales.In addition, there was a significant decrease in seminal plasma copper concentration in azoospermicmales than in oligoasthenozoospermic males (p<0.035).The results also revealed a significant positivecorrelation between the sperm motility values and the seminal plasma zinc levels inoligoasthenozoospermic group(r=0.68, p<0.022) along with a significant negative correlation betweensperm morphology values and zinc seminal plasma levels in teratozoospermic group (r=-0.63,p<0.049).CONCLUSION:On the basis of the findings of this study, it seems that the estimation of seminal plasma levels of zinc andcopper may aid in investigation and treatment of infertile males.