ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 451-457

Levels of L-carnitine in human seminal plasma are associated with sperm fatty acid composition


1 Fertilitetssenteret, Oslo 0176, Norway Department of Life Sciences and Health, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo 0130, Norway

Correspondence Address:
Mario Iliceto
Fertilitetssenteret, Oslo 0176; Department of Life Sciences and Health, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo 0130
Norway
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aja2021107

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The fatty acid composition of spermatozoa has been shown to be important for their function, and L-carnitine is crucial for fatty acid metabolism. Its levels in the seminal plasma positively correlate with semen quality, whereas high body mass index (BMI) is associated with both reduced semen quality and altered sperm fatty acid composition. Here, we examined the associations between free seminal L-carnitine levels and sperm fatty acid composition as well as BMI. Semen samples were collected and analyzed from 128 men with unknown fertility status and with BMI ranging from 19 kg m−2 to 63 kg m−2. Sperm fatty acid composition was assessed by gas chromatography, while free seminal L-carnitine analysis was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography. Multiple linear regression analysis showed a positive correlation of free seminal L-carnitine levels with the amount of sperm palmitic acid (β = 0.21; P = 0.014), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; β = 0.23; P = 0.007), and total n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (β = 0.23; P = 0.008) and a negative correlation of free seminal L-carnitine levels with lignoceric acid (β = −0.29; P = 0.001) and total n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (β = −0.24; P = 0.012) when adjusted for covariates. There was no relationship between free seminal L-carnitine levels and BMI. Since free seminal L-carnitine levels are associated with semen quality, the absence of a correlation with BMI suggests that reduced semen quality in obese men is independent of seminal L-carnitine.


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