An update on coenzyme Q10 implications in male infertility: biochemical and therapeutic aspects.
This review is focused upon the role of coenzyme Q(10) in male infertility in the light of a broader issue of oxidative damage and antioxidant defense in sperm cells and seminal plasma. Reactive oxygen species play a key pathogenetic role in male infertility besides having a well-recognized physiological function. The deep involvement of coenzyme Q(10) in mitochondrial bioenergetics and its antioxidant properties are at the basis of its role in seminal fluid. Following the early studies addressing its presence in sperm cells and seminal plasma, the relative distribution of the quinone between these two compartments was studied in infertile men, with special attention to varicocele. The reduction state of CoQ(10) in seminal fluid was also investigated. After the first in vitro experiments CoQ(10) was administered to a group of idiopathic asthenozoospermic infertile patients. Seminal analysis showed a significant increase of CoQ(10) both in seminal plasma and in sperm cells, together with an improvement in sperm motility. The increased concentration of CoQ(10) in seminal plasma and sperm cells, the improvement of semen kinetic features after treatment, and the evidence of a direct correlation between CoQ(10) concentrations and sperm motility strongly support a cause/effect relationship. From a general point of view, a deeper knowledge of these molecular mechanisms could lead to a new insight into the so-called unexplained infertility.