Yonago Acta medica 1998;41:2329
Effect of Hypercholesterolaemia on Testicular Function and Sperm Physiology
Kenji Shimamoto and Nikolaos Sofikitis
Department of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Yonago 683-0826 Japan
The effect of hypercholesterolaemia on testicular endocrine and exocrine function was evaluated. Furthermore, the influence of hypercholesterolaemia on sperm quality, quantity, and fertilizing potential was appreciated. Eight mature rabbits (group A) were fed chow containing 3% cholesterol for 12 weeks. An additional six rabbits (group B) were fed normal chow for the same period. At the end of the experimental period hormonal profiles and sperm parameters were evaluated. In addition, the sperm reproductive potential was assessed by in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. Peripheral
serum responses to testicular stimulation with human chorionic gonadotropin, epididymal sperm content and motility, and IVF outcome were significantly lower in group A than in group B. In contrast, serum cholesterol levels were significantly higher in group A. It appears that hypercholesterolaemia has a detrimental effect on Leydig cell function, spermatogenesis, the epididymal sperm maturation process, and the overall sperm fertilizing capacity.
Key words: cholesterol; infertility; sperm; temperature; testis