Introduction and aim of the study

Idiopathic Oligoathenoteratozoospermia (iOAT syndrome) can be found in a high percentage of patients with male infertility. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been implicated in male infertility in the last years. In the present study we measured the levels of Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and Oxidative stress (OS) in iOAT patients and their correlation with midpiece and mitochondrial anomalies and their impact on other sperm parameters.

Material and Methods

20 patients with iOAT and 10 normal fertile controls were enrolled in this study. Carbonyl Protein (CP) is a new reliable and stable indicator of OS. CP values were measured by ELISA to detect the level of OS. Semen analysis was performed according to WHO guidelines to measure the semen parameters. Transmission Electron Microscope was used to detect mitochondrial structural abnormalities.


Statistically significant higher degrees of abnormal sperm parameters were found in iOAT patients compared to fertile controls (P< 0.001). CP values were significantly higher in iOAT patients than in normal controls (P< 0.001). A statistically highly significant difference in mitochondrial ultrastructural anomalies between the iOAT patients and control group (P 0.001). CP values have been found to be positively correlated with sperm midpiece (r= 0.524) and mitochondrial anomalies (r= 0.869) and negatively correlated with sperm concentration (r= -0.616) and progressive motility(r= -0.68).


High levels of CP can be measured in iOAT patients, indicating that OS could underlie the aetiopathogenesis of the syndrome. OS negatively affects sperm mitochondria with subsequent impairment on the sperm motility and concentration. This can put an attention for antioxidants as a therapy for iOAT syndrome.