Leukocytospermia and Oxidative Stress

Margot Flint, Ashok Agarwal, and Stefan S. du Plessis

Abstract The invasion of microorganisms and infective bacteria in the genito-urinary tract leads to the rapid increase in white blood cells, a condition referred to as leukocytospermia. This inflammatory response, aimed at killing the microorganisms via the production and release of reactive oxygen species (ROS), can result in pathologically high concentrations of ROS. When these concentrations greatly exceed the level required for normal physiological function, the natural defense system of scavenging antioxidants can be overwhelmed, resulting in oxidative stress (OS) thereby compromising the integrity of spermatozoa and functional parameters vital for successful fertilization. The complexity of OS is furthered when additional factors (e.g., smoking, varicocele) increase ROS levels in the male genito-urinary system. At present, the association between semen parameters and leukocyte concentrations is a focal point in the field of male reproductive science. This chapter aims at exploring the relationship between leukocytospermia, OS, the harmful effects on male reproductive potential, as well as possible treatment regimes.

Keywords Leukocytospermia • Oxidative stress • Male genitalia tract infections • Reactive oxygen species • Leukocytes • Antioxidants

Division of Medical Physiology, Stellenbosch University, Francie van Zijl Avenue, PO Box 19063, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa e-mail: [email protected]

A. Agarwal, PhD

Center for Reproductive Medicine , Cleveland Clinic , Lerner College of Medicine, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA

A. Agarwal et al. (eds.), Studies on Men's Health and Fertility, Oxidative Stress 517

in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice, DOI 10.1007/978-1-61779-776-7_23, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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