Human semen contains high concentrations of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) in bound and ionic forms .The
presence of abnormal levels of these trace elements may affect spermatogenesis with regard to production
, maturation , motility , and fertilizing capacity of the spermatozoa. The aim of this study is to evaluate
the levels of Zn and Cu in seminal plasma in different groups of male infertility and to correlate their
concentrations with various semen parameters.
Forty primary infertile male individuals ,who had regular unprotected intercourse for at least one year
without conception with their partners ,aged 25-40 years were involved in the present study .After seminal
plasma fluid analyses they were grouped as, azoospermic (n=12), oligoasthenozoospermic (n=16) ,and
teratozoospermic (n=12) .Twelve fertile males selected from general population and after seminal fluid
investigation were taken as normospermic control group .Zinc and Copper concentrations in separated
seminal plasma of each infertile male and fertile control subject were determined by atomic absorption
This study showed significant decrease of seminal plasma Zn mean (+SEM) value in
oligoasthenozoospermic infertile males than in fertile male controls (p<0.037) .In azoospermic males, the
mean (+SEM) value of seminal plasma Zn levels was decreased (but still beyond the significant
level,p=0.08) when compared with that of fertile males. With regard to seminal plasma copper level there
was insignificant decrease in its level in azoospermic males and insignificant increase in its concentration
in oligoasthenozoospermic and in teratozoospermic males when compared with that of healthy fertile
males.In addition, there was a significant decrease in seminal plasma copper concentration in azoospermic
males than in oligoasthenozoospermic males (p<0.035).The results also revealed a significant positive
correlation between the sperm motility values and the seminal plasma zinc levels in
oligoasthenozoospermic group(r=0.68, p<0.022) along with a significant negative correlation between
sperm morphology values and zinc seminal plasma levels in teratozoospermic group (r=-0.63,p<0.049).
On the basis of the findings of this study, it seems that the estimation of seminal plasma levels of zinc and
copper may aid in investigation and treatment of infertile males.