Article Abstract

Correlation between methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene polymorphism and oligoasthenospermia and the effects of folic acid supplementation on semen quality

Authors: Chong Xie, Ping Ping, Yi Ma, Zhengmu Wu, Xiangfeng Chen

Abstract

Background: The present study investigated the correlation between 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T polymorphism and oligoasthenospermia, as well as the effects of folic acid supplementation on semen quality.
Methods: The present study was a case control study. The PCR-chip assay was applied to analyze the distribution characteristics of the frequencies and genotypes of the MTHFR C677T allele in 167 Han Chinese patients with idiopathic male infertility (including 86 patients with oligospermia and 81 patients with asthenospermia) and in 78 males with normal semen parameters. Moreover, homocysteine (Hcy) levels were assessed for the different groups. Semen quality was measured following three months of folic acid supplementation for the oligospermia and asthenospermia groups.
Results: The cytosine-thymine (CT) genotype (50% vs. 39.5%) and the thymine-thymine (TT) genotype (51.2% vs. 7.7%) carriers in the oligospermia group exhibited significantly higher percentages compared with those of the control group. The percentage of the CT genotype carriers in the asthenospermia group was significantly higher compared with that of the control group (59.3% vs. 50%), while the frequency of the TT genotype was significantly increased (22.2% vs. 7.7%). Furthermore, serum Hcy levels in the oligospermia and asthenospermia groups were significantly higher compared with those of the control group. The data also demonstrated that sperm density increased significantly following three months of folic acid supplementation to patients with oligospermia or asthenospermia. In these patients, the highest increase was noted for the subjects carrying the TT genotype.
Conclusions: The MTHFR C677T mutation and the elevated Hcy levels are important risk factors for the development of oligoasthenospermia. Folic acid supplementation can significantly improve sperm density.