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Association Between Body Mass Index and Male Sperm Apoptosis and Apoptosis-Related Factors

Authors Zhu G, Zhang Y, Dong J, Liu Y, Zhao F, Li T, Shi Z, Zhang Y, Song N, Song W, Lv Y

Received 1 November 2020

Accepted for publication 20 January 2021

Published 9 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1043—1051


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Konstantinos Tziomalos

Guangli Zhu, Yuting Zhang, Jianjun Dong, Yilin Liu, Fang Zhao, Ting Li, Zhanrong Shi, Yanping Zhang, Na Song, Wenyue Song, Yuzhen Lv

Reproductive Medicine Center, Jiaozuo Women and Children’s Hospital, Jiaozuo, Henan Province, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Yuzhen Lv
Reproductive Medicine Center, Jiaozuo Women and Children’s Hospital, Jiaozuo, 454150, Henan, People’s Republic of China
Tel +8613839158938
Email lyz [email protected]

Background: Although obesity may affect reproductive functions, the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis-related biomarkers remain uncertain.
Objective: To examine the effects of body mass index on sperm quality and apoptosis-related factors in seminal plasma of men.
Methods: Data for 54 subfertile men were collected at our reproductive medical center. The men were divided into normal weight, overweight, and obese groups based on their body mass index (BMI). Sperm DNA fragmentation (sperm chromatin structure analysis), sperm apoptosis (annexin V), and sperm apoptosis-related factors (antibody array assay) were assessed and their relationships with BMI were analyzed.
Results: BMI was not significantly related to age, duration of infertility, duration of sexual abstinence, semen volume, sperm concentration, or rate of normal sperm morphology (p > 0.05). However, progressive sperm motility was significantly reduced and the rates of sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI) and sperm apoptosis were significantly increased in overweight and obese men compared with men with normal BMI. Fas/Fasl, Bcl-2/Bax, caspase-3, caspase-8, p53, and p21 were all upregulated in the overweight and obese groups. Protein function annotation by Gene Ontology analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis revealed that apoptosis-related factors were enriched in a network associated with activation of apoptotic signaling pathways, such as apoptosis and p53 signaling.
Conclusion: These data suggest that increased BMI is associated with increased sperm apoptosis and sperm DNA damage, as well as accelerated expression of apoptosis-related factors via the activation of apoptotic signaling pathways.

Keywords: BMI, obesity, semen quality, sperm DNA, apoptosis-related factors, biomarker

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