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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 8327506, 8 pages
Research Article

Metabolomic Profiling of Human Spermatozoa in Idiopathic Asthenozoospermia Patients Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

1Department of Urology, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
2State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine and Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
3Department of Urology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
4Department of Urology, Taizhou People’s Hospital, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China
5Department of Microbiology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Zengjun Wang; nc.ude.umjn@gnawnujgnez and Ruipeng Jia; moc.361@jgnepiur

Received 25 September 2017; Accepted 23 January 2018; Published 28 February 2018

Academic Editor: Li Jiao

Copyright © 2018 Kai Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was to describe the first metabolic profile of human sperm cells through the application of an untargeted platform based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Sperm cell samples from patients diagnosed with idiopathic asthenozoospermia () and healthy subjects () were analyzed using a nontargeted metabolomics method based on GC-MS spectroscopy. The mass spectrometric data were collected using multivariate and univariate analyses to identify metabolites related to idiopathic asthenozoospermia. By using metabolomic strategies, we identified 33 metabolites, 27 of which were decreased in the idiopathic asthenozoospermia group compared with the normozoospermic group and six were increased in idiopathic asthenozoospermia. With respect to human sperm cells, some of these metabolites are reported here for the first time. Pathways for nucleoside, amino acid and energy metabolism, and the Krebs cycle were disturbed and were associated with idiopathic asthenozoospermia. The metabolic profiling provides an important first step in studying the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in IAS, and the identified metabolites may become potential biomarkers for its diagnosis and treatment.