IMPACT OF ANTIOXIDANTS AND PRO-OXIDANTS ON FEMALE FERTILITY
Oxidative stress, an imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants, is reported to be associated with female infertility. This study was aimed to compare cortisol (oxidative stress marker) and vitamin E (antioxidant) levels in the fertile and infertile female population of Karachi, Pakistan.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 88 females, recruited from Australian Concept Infertility Medical Centre, were divided equally into infertile cases and fertile controls. Serum cortisol and vitamin E (VE) levels were measured using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. Statistical comparison was done by Chi-square and Mann-Whitney U-test. Correlation between two continuous variables was determined by Spearman’s Correlation. The P value < 0.05 was considered significant in all cases.
The median age for the fertile group was 31.0 (IQR= 27.0-37.0) and for the infertile group, 32.0 (IQR= 28.0-38.0). Of the infertile females, 70.5% (n= 31) had primary infertility while 29.5% (n= 13) had secondary infertility. A significant difference in the cortisol levels was seen between the fertile and the infertile groups. (p value= 0.001). VE levels were significantly decreased in the infertile females (p value= 0.026). The levels of cortisol and VE were found to be in a weak negative correlation in the infertile women (-0.163).
A balance between oxidants and antioxidants is required to maintain the reproductive potential in females. Decrease in the antioxidant vitamin E, and an increase in pro-oxidant cortisol, may be associated with a risk of infertility in females.