Prostaglandins are exclusively synthesized in vivo from cell membrane essential fatty acids and together are known to regulate many aspects of reproductive processes.

The objective of the study was to examine whether disturbances in fatty acid profile as a result of increased oxidative stress could be one of the causes of female infertility.

Forty-five infertile and 30 control women were enrolled via the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Bharati Medical College Hospital, Pune, India. Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, malondialdehyde (MDA; oxidative stress-marker) levels and antioxidants (vitamins E and C) were measured in both groups. Results show that plasma eicosapentaenoic acid and erythrocyte docosahexaenoic acid levels were reduced (p < 0.05) in infertile women as compared to controls. Likewise, levels of MDA, a peroxidative product of essential fatty acids, were increased (p < 0.05) and vitamin E concentrations were decreased (p < 0.05) in infertile women, suggesting that increased oxidative stress and consequent altered essential polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with infertility.

Our study indicates, for the first time, the cause and effect relationship between oxidative stress and membrane essential polyunsaturated fatty acids in infertile women. These data have important implications for the supplementation of a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in the successful management of female infertility.

Infertility, Fertility, Oxidative Stress - Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Prostaglandins, Antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin E