Coenzyme Q10 and male infertility

Giancarlo Balercia, Antonio Mancini, F Paggi, Luca Tiano, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Marco Boscaro, Andrea Lenzi, Gian Paolo Littarru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)


We had previously demonstrated that Coenzyme Q10 is present in well measurable levels in human seminal fluid, where it likely 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 concentration 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 rh-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, respectively twenty-two and sixty patients affected by idiopathic asthenozoospermia were enrolled. CoQ10 and 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, baseline and after treatment, of seminal plasma or intracellular coenzyme Q10 and ubiquinol levels and kinetic parameters was found in the treated group. Patients with lower baseline value of motility and levels of CoQ10 had a statistically significant higher probability to be responders to the treatment. In conclusion, the exogenous administration of CoQ10 increases the level of the same and ubiquinol in semen and it can be effective in improving sperm kinetic features in patients affected by idiopathic asthenozoospermia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-632
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Publication statusPublished - 2009




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