JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Coenzyme Q10 and male infertility

G Balercia, A Mancini, F Paggi, L Tiano, A Pontecorvi, M Boscaro, A Lenzi, G P Littarru
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation 2009, 32 (7): 626-32
19509475
We had previously demonstrated that Coenzyme Q10 [(CoQ10) also commonly called ubiquinone] is present in well-measurable levels in human seminal fluid, where it probably exerts important metabolic and antioxidant functions; seminal CoQ10 concentrations show a direct correlation with seminal parameters (count and motility). Alterations of CoQ10 content were also shown in conditions associated with male infertility, such as asthenozoospermia and varicocele (VAR). The physiological role of this molecule was further clarified by inquiring into its variations in concentrations induced by different medical or surgical procedures used in male infertility treatment. We therefore evaluated CoQ10 concentration and distribution between seminal plasma and spermatozoa in VAR, before and after surgical treatment, and in infertile patients after recombinant human FSH therapy. The effect of CoQ10 on sperm motility and function had been addressed only through some in vitro experiments. In two distinct studies conducted by our group, 22 and 60 patients affected by idiopathic asthenozoospermia were enrolled, respectively. CoQ10 and its reduced form, ubiquinol, increased significantly both in seminal plasma and sperm cells after treatment, as well as spermatozoa motility. A weak linear dependence among the relative variations, at baseline and after treatment, of seminal plasma or intracellular CoQ10, ubiquinol levels and kinetic parameters was found in the treated group. Patients with lower baseline value of motility and CoQ10 levels had a statistically significant higher probability to be responders to the treatment. In conclusion, the exogenous administration of CoQ10 increases both ubiquinone and ubiquinol levels in semen and can be effective in improving sperm kinetic features in patients affected by idiopathic asthenozoospermia.

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