The human body is constantly exposed to various forms of stress. Oxidative stress is a kind of chemical stress that is present in living organisms due to exposure to an increased quantity of potentially harmful agents called reactive oxygen species. The impact of oxidative stress in follicular fluid on oocyte maturation, fertilization and implantation of embryos has received considerable attention during the last few years. Scientists have researched patients with three different infertility diagnoses.
By Teja Fabjan
The focus of a recent study published in the Journal of Laboratory Medicine, was to assess oxidative stress levels in follicular fluid samples of women undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization) and to relate them to different diagnoses.
A total of 199 women were enrolled; 37 of them were diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), 71 with endometriosis, 41 with Tubal Factor Infertility (TFI), and 50 of the patients were used as the control group. A sample of follicular fluid was collected from each patient at an oocyte (the immature cell that forms the ovum) retrieval day and analyzed for oxidative stress by measuring a class of Reactive Oxygen Metabolites and also analyzed for Plasma Antioxidant Test.
The data analyzed in follicular fluid were related to different diagnoses. Groups were not significantly different in age and BMI, except for the PCOS group. The researchers found there was a significant difference between the Reactive Oxygen Metabolites test and the Plasma Antioxidant Test levels in the follicular fluid of patients vs. control group.
The study shows that oxidative stress could be a predictable factor for a successful pregnancy. Both tests showed a higher rate of ROS and antioxidants in follicular fluid in groups with PCOS and in the endometriosis group.
The ratio between pro-oxidants and antioxidants represents the overall oxidative stress milieu and it seems to be significantly better predictors of achieving pregnancy than the ROS level or antioxidants level alone.
The researchers concluded that the evaluation of oxidative stress in follicular fluid needs more investigation in regard to markers in the follicular microenvironment.
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