Study of gonadic growth factors: Seminal transforming growth factor-β1, epidermal growth factor and insulin-like growth factor-I and their relationship with male infertility


Background: The aim of this study was to establish normal reference values for several growth factors in semen and provide a basis for understanding their physiological significance in fertile and infertile subjects. Methods: 110 infertile men semen was evaluated according to WHO standards and by enzyme immunoassay (ELISA kit protocol) to determine the rate of growth factors (TGFβ1, IGFI, EGF). We have also listed neutrophils by staining with peroxidase to examine the association of inflammation with the levels of these factors. The determination of the epididymal (alpha-1,4-glucosidase) marker was directed according to the technical recommended by the WHO in 2010. Each patient received a hormonal balance including the determination of plasma FSH, LH and Testosterone. Results: Concentrations of TGFβ1 were significantly higher in (severe and extreme azoospermic, oligospermic) pathological groups compared to the control group (P < 0.01). This is related to the presence of high levels of leukocytes in the sperm, so a possible inflammation in the genital tract. We found no significant difference between the rates of seminal growth factors in patients with normal or elevated plasma FSH. Our results for the IGFI seminal showed no significant difference (P > 0.05) between control and pathological groups. The IGFI is partly testicular and/or epididymal as it is lowered in some patients with obstructive azoospermia. Positive correlations were observed between the seminal IGFI, mobility (r = 0.487) and sperm morphology (r = +0.187). Immunological sperm abnormalities and/or idiopathic do not alter the rate of EGF seminal. There is no significant correlation between seminal EGF or with sperm parameters or with plasma levels of FSH and LH. Conclusion: The growth factors are primarily peptides, handling and identification in a complex environment as the seminal plasma, but it requires a lot of precautions if we do not want to expose to the risk of bad farms/interpretations of data obtained.

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Amor, H. , Ajina, M. , Saad, A. and Ali, H. (2014) Study of gonadic growth factors: Seminal transforming growth factor-β1, epidermal growth factor and insulin-like growth factor-I and their relationship with male infertility. Advances in Reproductive Sciences, 2, 16-23. doi: 10.4236/arsci.2014.21003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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