The effect of sildenafil on human sperm motion and function from normal and infertile men


The aim of this report was to study the effect of sildenafil, a specific type-5 phosphodiesterase inhibitor, on human sperm motility, viability, membrane integrity and sperm penetration assay.

Spermatozoa were obtained from normal donors (n=6) and infertile men (n=6) were washed using a single Percoll (80%) gradient, suspended in Ham’s F-10 medium, and incubated with various doses of sildenafil (125, 250 and 750 ng/ml); pentoxifylline (3 mM) was used as a positive control, and Ham’s F-10 was used as a reagent control. Sperm motility, grade, viability, membrane integrity (by hypo-osmotic swelling test), and motion evaluation were carried out at various time intervals. Hamster ova sperm penetration assay (SPA) was used to evaluate overall sperm function.

Sildenafil did not affect sperm motility, viability or membrane integrity under these conditions as compared to our Ham’s control (P>0.05). Incubation with pentoxifylline significantly enhanced sperm motility (P<0.05) and viability without affecting membrane integrity (P<0.05). Sperm incubated with sildenafil and pentoxifylline from both normal donors and infertile patients demonstrated no significant change in sperm penetration assay from respective controls.

In conclusion, sildenafil, at the doses evaluated, did not significantly alter the motility, viability, membrane integrity or sperm penetration characteristics of human spermatozoa from normal donors and infertile patients.

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Correspondence to WJG Hellstrom.

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Burger, M., Sikka, S., Bivalacqua, T. et al. The effect of sildenafil on human sperm motion and function from normal and infertile men. Int J Impot Res 12, 229–234 (2000).

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  • sildenafil
  • sperm
  • motility
  • viability
  • SPA

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