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The Zengjing or “Sperm Increasing” Granule (增精顆粒) is a new TCM formula came out from the Chengdu TCM University. The content of “Sperm Increasing Granule” includes: Read more
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CM NEWS – A Chinese medicinal formula, Huzhangdanshenyin (虎杖丹參飲), derived by researchers in Xiamen, China has been proved more effective than corticosteroids in targetting male immune infertility – but without the side effects of steroids.
What is male immune infertility? Sperm are relatively protected from the immune system by a natural protective mechanism called the blood-testes barrier. Tight connections between the cells lining the male reproductive tract keep immune cells from gaining entry to the sperm within. If an injury breaches this barrier, then the immune system has access to sperm and antibodies are formed.
Antisperm antibodies have been reported in approximately 10% of infertile men, compared to less than 1% of fertile men. The prevalence of antibodies jumps dramatically in men who have had surgery on their reproductive tract: nearly 70% of men who have undergone a vasectomy reversal will have antibodies present on their sperm. Women have a much lower chance for developing antibodies to sperm: less than 5% of infertile women can be shown to have antisperm antibodies, and it is unclear who is at risk for their formation.
Who is at risk for antisperm antibodies?
Anything that disrupts the normal blood-testes barrier can result in the formation of antisperm antibodies. This may include any of the following conditions:
- Vasectomy reversal
- Varicocele (dilation of the veins surrounding the spermatic cord)
- Testicular torsion (twisting of the testicle)
- Congenital absence of the vas deferens
- Testicular biopsy
- Cryptorchidism (failure of testicular descent)
- Testicular cancer
- Infection (orchitis, prostatitis)
- Inguinal hernia repair prior to puberty
The study done at the Department of Andrology, Xiamen TCM Hospital Affiliated to Fujian TCM College selected 90 men with immune infertility and randomly divided them into two groups: 60 in the treatment group, treated by Huzhangdanshenyin, and the other 30 in the control, treated by prednisone, both for 3 months.
What is prednisone? Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid drug which is usually taken orally but can be delivered by intramuscular injection and can be used for a large number of different conditions. It has a mainly glucocorticoid effect. Prednisone is a prodrug that is converted by the liver into prednisolone, which is the active drug and also a steroid.
Prednisone is particularly effective as an immunosuppressant and affects virtually all of the immune system. It can therefore be used in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases (such as severe asthma, severe poison ivy dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Crohn’s disease), various kidney diseases including nephrotic syndrome, and to prevent and treat rejection in organ transplantation. This medicine may also reduce the sex drive.
Huzhangdanshenyin was derived these researchers. The formula includes:
Hu zhang (虎杖) 15g
Pu gong ying (蒲公英; Herba Taraxaci Mongolici cum Radice, dandelion) 15g
Zi cao (紫草, radix arnebia, stoneweed) 15g
Huang qi (黃芪, Radix astragali) 15g
Dan shen (丹參, Salvia miltiorrhiza, or Chinese sage) 15g
Chi shao (赤芍, root of common peony) 15g
Dang gui (當歸, Radix Angelicae sinensis, roots of Chinese angelica) 15g
Hong hua (紅花, Flos Carthami Tinctorii) 10g
Shou wu (首烏, Radix Polygoni Multiflori, Chinese knotweed) 15g
Nu zhen zi (女貞子, Fructus Ligustri Lucidi, privet fruit) 15g
Sheng di (生地, Rehmannia Radix) 15g
Xian ling pi (仙靈脾, Herba Epimedii, epimedium) 15g
The researchers then observed the subjects’ improvement of clinical symptoms, immunologic indexes (antisperm antibodies in serum and seminal plasma) and sperm indexes (semen liquefied duration, motility, viability, density and abnormal morphology rate).
Antibodies that attach to the sperm may impair motility and make it harder for them to penetrate the cervical mucus and gain entrance to the egg; they may also cause the sperm to clump together, which is occasionally noted on a routine semen analysis. Antibodies may also interfere with the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg.
What treatments are available for antisperm antibodies?
Suppressing the immune system with corticosteroids may decrease the production of antibodies but can result in serious side effects, including severe damage to the hipbone. Intrauterine insemination, with or without the use of fertility medications, has been used for the treatment of antisperm antibodies. It is believed to work by delivering the sperm directly into the uterus and fallopian tubes, thus bypassing the cervical mucus.
The total antisperm antibody reversing ratio of the treatment group was higher than that of the control (P < 0.01), especially the serum antisperm antibody reversing ratio. There were significant differences in the clinical cure rate and total validity rate between the treatment group and the control (P < 0.01).
After the treatment, the markers of the clinical symptoms were lower (P < 0.01), and the improvement of the clinical symptoms was better in the treatment group than in the control (P < 0.01), especially the symptoms of pain in the back and knees, distending and bearing-down sensation of the perineum and testis, hypersexuality and topoalgia.
Compared with pre-treatment, sperm motility and viability of the treatment group significantly improved (P < 0.01), and so did sperm density (P < 0.05). However, there were no significant differences in sperm density, semen liquefied duration, abnormal morphology rate and pH (P > 0.05) before and after the treatment.
In conclusion, the study says Huzhangdanshenyin works more effectively than prednisone in the treatment of male immune infertility. It could improve the antisperm antibody reversing ratio, clinical symptoms and signs and ameliorate sperm indexes with no obvious advierse effects.
acupuncture appears to be a simple method for improving the ultrastructure, and therefore quality, of sperm in men with unexplained infertility, research indicates. The study was done by researchers of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
“The treatment of idiopathic infertility could benefit from employing acupuncture,” states the team, led by Jian Pei from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the People’s Republic of China.
acupuncture for men undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) has already been shown to have positive effects on sperm quality, fertilization rates, and pregnancy rates.
To evaluate its effects on sperm structure in detail, the researchers used transmission electron microscopy to study ejaculates from 40 men with with idiopathic oligospermia, asthenospermia, or teratozoospermia, 28 of whom received acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks. The samples from the treatment group were randomized with semen samples from the 12 men in the untreated control group.
After acupuncture, a statistically significant increase in the percentage and number of sperm in the total ejaculate without ultrastructural defects was observed, in comparison with controls, with improvements in the shape of the acrosome and nucleus. No change in specific pathologies, such as apoptosis, necrosis, or immaturity, however, was apparent.
Encouraged by these results, Pei et al recommend: “In conjunction with ART or even for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatment is a simple, noninvasive method that can improve sperm quality.”