Andrology: Glutathione treatment of dyspermia: Effect on the lipoperoxidation process

A. Lenzi, M. Picardo, L. Gandini, F. Lombardo, O. Terminali, S. Passi, F. Dondero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We recently introduced reduced glutathione into the therapeutic protocols in some selected cases of dyspermia. This therapy improved semen quality both in a pilot follow-up study and in a double-blind cross-over trial. This improvement was seen in patients with varicocele and germ-free genital tract inflammation, two pathologies in which production of reactive oxygen species or other toxic compounds could have a pathogenic role. Polyunsaturated fatty acids of phospholipids play a major role in membrane constitution and function and are one of the main targets of the lipoperox-idative process. Therefore, to understand the therapeutic action of reduced glutathione, we selected infertile patients and studied the modifications produced by the therapy in seminal parameters, biochemical sperm membrane parameters, and the pattern of fatty acids of phospholipids from blood serum and red blood cell membranes (a model widely accepted as representative of general cell membrane status). The results showed an improvement in both sperm parameters and cell membrane characteristics. This study suggests that biochemical modifications in membrane constitution could explain the seminal results of glutathione therapy. On the other hand, it seems likely that only subjects with systemic membrane disturbances associated with andrological pathologies express this membrane damage in spermatozoa, resulting in dyspermia. This sperm alteration can be partially reversed by glutathione therapy if the structural cell membrane damage is not too severe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2044-2050
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1994


  • Dyspermia
  • Glutathione
  • Lipoperoxidation
  • Poly-unsaturated fatty acids
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physiology
  • Developmental Biology


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