Coenzyme Q(10) in male infertility: physiopathology and therapy.

Mancini A, Balercia G. Coenzyme Q(10) in male infertility: physiopathology and therapy. Biofactors. 2011 Sep-Oct;37(5):374-80. doi: 10.1002/biof.164. Epub 2011 Oct 11.


Both the bioenergetic and the antioxidant role of CoQ(10) suggest a possible involvement in sperm biochemistry and male infertility. CoQ(10) can be quantified in seminal fluid, where its concentration correlates with sperm count and motility. It was found that distribution of CoQ(10) between sperm cells and seminal plasma was altered in varicocele patients, who also presented a higher level of oxidative stress and lower total antioxidant capacity. The effect of vericocelectomy on partially reversing these biochemical abnormalities is discussed. The redox status of coenzyme Q(10) in seminal fluid was also determined: an inverse correlation was found between ubiquinol/ubiquinone ratio and hydroperoxide levels and between this ratio and the percentage of abnormal sperm forms. After the first in vitro observations CoQ(10) was administered to infertile patients affected by idiopathic asthenozoospermia, originally in an open label study and then in three randomized placebo-controlled trials; doses were around 200-300 mg/day and treatment lasted 6 months. A significant increase in the concentration of CoQ(10) was found, both in seminal plasma and sperm cells. Treatment also led to a certain improvement in sperm motility. In one of the studies there was also a decrease in plasma levels of follicle stimulating horhone (FSH) and luteinizine horhone (LH). Administration of CoQ(10) may play a positive role in the treatment of asthenozoospermia, possibly related to not only to its function in the mitochondrial respiratory chain but also to its antioxidant properties. Further studies are needed in order to determine whether there is also an effect on fertility rate.