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Pathophysiology of obesity-related infertility and its prevention and treatment by potential phytotherapeutics.

BACKGROUND: Obesity is a complex multifactorial disease in which the accumulation of excess body fat has adverse health effects, as it can increase the risk of several problems, including infertility, in both men and women. Obesity and infertility have risen together in recent years. Against this background, the present review aims to highlight the impact of obesity on infertility and the underlying pathophysiology of obesity-related infertility (ORI) in men and women, and to provide readers with knowledge of current trends in the effective development of phytotherapeutics for its treatment.

METHODS: We thoroughly searched in PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, EMBASE, and Google Scholar to find all relevant papers on ORI and the therapeutic effects of phytotherapeutics on ORI in men and women.

RESULTS: The extensive search of the available literature revealed that obesity affects reproductive function through several complex mechanisms such as hyperlipidaemia, hyperinsulinaemia, hyperandrogenism, increased body mass index, disruption of the hormonal milieu, systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, alterations in epigenetics and dysbiosis. On the other hand, several studies reported that phytotherapeutics has a broad therapeutic spectrum of action by improving sex hormone homeostasis, ovarian dysfunction, menstrual cycle and inhibiting ovarian hyperplasia, as well as down-regulating ovarian apoptosis, inflammation and oxidative stress, and controlling metabolic dysfunction in obese women. Male infertility is also addressed by phytotherapeutics by suppressing lipogenesis, increasing testosterone, 3β-HSD and 17β-HSD levels, improving sperm parameters and attenuating testicular dyslipidaemia, oxidative stress, inflammation and germ cell apoptosis.

CONCLUSIONS: In the present review, we discussed the effects of obesity on reproductive dysfunction in men and women and the underlying pathophysiology of ORI. In addition, the therapeutic effect of phytotherapeutics against ORI was highlighted.

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