Seminal plasma adipokine levels are correlated with functional characteristics of spermatozoa

Obesity has an impact on semen quality, and adipokines appear to influence semen parameters potentially in conjunction with body mass index.

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Stephanie Thomas, Dorothea Kratzsch, Michael Schaab, Markus Scholz, Ph.D., Sonja Grunewald, M.D., Joachim Thiery, M.D., Uwe Paasch, M.D., Juergen Kratzsch, Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 5, Pages 1256-1263.e3, April 2013



To study the effect of adipokines as a potential link between obesity and male subfertility.


For the cross-sectional study the subjects were stratified into subgroups according to their BMI as normal-weight (18.50-24.99 kg/m2), overweight (25-29.99 kg/m2) and obese (> 30 kg/m238 ).


Leipzig, Germany from 2007 to 2011.


96 voluntary donors were enrolled for this study. Only individuals without spermatogenesis associated diseases were included.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Semen parameters, reproductive hormones in serum as well as leptin, adiponectin, resistin, chemerin, progranulin, vaspin and visfatin concentrations in serum and seminal plasma were determined.


All measured adipokines were detectable in human seminal plasma. Levels of progranulin, visfatin and vaspin were significantly higher in seminal plasma than in serum. Increase of body weight was associated with decreased levels of seminal plasma progranulin. Additionally, overweight/obese men had significantly lower progranulin levels in seminal plasma than normal-weight men. Adiponectin and progranulin concentrations in seminal plasma correlated significantly positive with sperm concentration, sperm count and total normomorph spermatozoa.


Adipokines are differently regulated in human male reproductive tract compared to peripheral blood and could influence sperm functionality.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility┬« is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.