Chronic stress and semen parameters

Van der Merwe, Esmari (2020-03)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It has been well documented that stress has adverse effects on the body and can lead to various health issues. Stress has been investigated as a cause for unexplained infertility in both men and women. Semen quality is a key indicator of male reproductive health. Numerous studies have been done on the effect of stress on semen parameters and an association between chronic psychological stress and poor semen parameters have been reported. Managing psychological stress can help to improve the health of an individual. In order to address the problem it is therefore important to determine if an individual experience high levels of stress. This can be established through psychological questionnaires and various biomarkers, such as the screening test for time urgency perfectionism (TUP) and alpha-amylase in saliva. In general, more or less 84% of couples are estimated to conceive naturally within a year. The remaining 16% of couples are affected by infertility. Within this group, it is estimated that male reproductive factors are the sole cause of one-third of cases and a contributing factor in another 20% of cases. Management of chronic stress in female patients has shown improved IVF rate of 67% or higher. However, as of yet no study has been performed on males to correlate the levels of TUP-stress, alpha-amylase to semen parameters as well as other seminal stress markers such as DNA fragmentation and oxidative stress (ROS). This study compared TUP-categories (Low, Moderate, High) with respect to semen parameters, alpha-amylase levels, age and BMI and investigated if increased alpha-amylase levels correlate with semen parameters, age and BMI. The experiments were performed at Medfem Fertility Clinic in Bryanston Johannesburg and the Division of Medical Physiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Stellenbosch University. A total of 62 male patients of Medfem Fertility Clinic adhering to the basic requirements enrolled in the study. Results showed no significant difference between age, semen parameters and alpha-amylase between TUP categories. Men in the High TUP category had a significant higher BMI compared to those in the Low and Moderate categories. No significant correlation was found between alpha-amylase, age, BMI and semen parameters. This study was unsuccessful in proving a significant relationship between the TUP categories, age and semen parameters. The High TUP category did show a significantly higher BMI compared to the Low and Moderate TUP groups. This finding confirms that there is a link between psychological stress and elevated BMI. Although there was no significant difference between the TUP categories with regards to sORP values, the Moderate and High categories were both higher than the normal value for sORP in semen. This implies that chronic stress leads to elevated levels of oxidative stress in semen. No relationship was found between TUP categories and alpha-amylase levels. Although both are used to detect chronic stress, the TUP questionnaire is used to detect personality types who are prone to chronic stress, whilst salivary alpha-amylase is a biomarker for chronic stress and functions in a completely different way. It is possible that whilst both can be used to detect chronic stress it is not advised to attempt to establish a relationship between the two as the mechanisms of both are very different.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is goed gedokumenteer dat stress ‘n nadelige uitwerking het op die liggaam wat tot verskeie gesondheidskwessies aanleiding kan gee. Ondersoek het aangedui dat stress die oorsaak is van ‘n onverklaarbare infertiliteit by beide mans en vrouens. Semen kwaliteit is ‘n sleutel aanwyser vir manlike reproduktiewe gesondheid. Verskeie studies is uitgevoer op die effek van stress op semen parameters, en ‘n assosiasie tussen chroniese sielkundige stress en swak semen parameters is gerapporteer. Die bestuur van sielkundige stress kan help om die gesondheid van ‘n individu te verbeter. Ten einde die probleem aan te spreek is dit derhalwe belangrik om te bepaal of die individu hoë vlakke van stress ervaar. Dit kan vasgestel word deur die voltooiing van sielkundige vraelyste en verskeie biomerkers, soos die siftingstoets vir tydsbeperkende perfektionisme (TUP) en alfa-amilase in speeksel. In die algemeen, ondervind min of meer 84% van paartjies, na raming, natuurlike konsepsie binne ‘n jaar. Die oorblywende 16% van paartjies word geaffekteer deur onvrugbaarheid. Manlike reproduktiewe faktore is vermoedelik die oorsaak van ongeveer een derde van die gevalle en ‘n bydraende faktor tot ‘n verdere 20% met in die groep. Die bestuur van chroniese stress in vroulike pasiënte het ‘n verbeterde IVB koers van 67% of hoër aangedui. Maar tot nog toe is geen studie op mans onderneem om die vlakke van chroniese stress en alfa-amilase op semen parameters asook ander seminale stress merkers soos DNA fragmentasie en oksidatiewe stress (ROS) te korreleer nie. Hierdie studie vergelyk TUP-kategorieë (Lae, matige, hoë) met betrekking tot semen parameters, alfa-amilase vlakke, ouderdom en BMI en ondersoek of verhoogde alfa-amilase vlakke korreleer met semen parameters, ouderdom en BMI. Die eksperimente is uitgevoer by Medfem Fertility Clinic in Bryanston Johannesburg en die Afdeling Mediese Fisiologie en die Departement van Biomediese Wetenskappe van die Stellenbosch Universiteit. ‘n Totaal van 62 mans, almal pasiënte van Medfem Fertility Clinic, het deelgenaam aan die studie. Resultate het geen beduidende verskil getoon tussen ouderdom, semen parameters en alfa-amilase tussen TUP kategorieë nie. Mans in die Hoë TUP kategorie het ‘n beduidende hoër BMI in vergelyking met die in die Lae en Matige kategorieë. Geen beduidende korrelasie is gevind tussen alfa-amilase, ouderdom, BMI en semen parameters nie. Die studie was onsukselvol om ‘n beduidende verwantskap te bewys tussen die TUP kategorieë, ouderdom en semen parameters. Die BMI van die Hoë TUP groep was beduidend hoër as die van die Lae en Matige TUP kategorieë. Dit impliseer ‘n verwantskap tussen chroniese stress en vetsug. Alhoewel daar geen beduidende verskil was tussen die TUP kategorieë in terme van sORP vlakke nie, was die Matige en Hoë kategorieë beide hoër as die normale afsnypunt vir sORP in semen. Dit impliseer dat chroniese stress kan aanleiding gee tot verhoogde vlakke van oksidatiewe stress in semen. Geen verwantskap was gevind tussen die TUP kategorieë en alfa-amilase vlakke nie. Alhoewel beide gebruik word om chroniese stress te identifiseer, word die TUP vraelys gebruik om persoonlikheidstipes wat geneig is tot chroniese stress te identifiseer, terwyl die speeksel alfa-amilase ‘n biomerker is vir chroniese stress en fungeer op ‘n totaal ander wyse. Terwyl albei gebruik kan word om chroniese stress te identifiseer word ‘n poging om ‘n verwantskap tussen die twee te bepaal nie ondersteun nie omdat die meganisme van albei heeltemal verskil.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108043
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