Semen from 18 men with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) aged 20-40 yr was compared with that from 15 age-matched control subjects. Although semen volume, sperm count, and spermatozoal motility were similar in the two groups, semen from diabetic men had significantly greater numbers of abnormal spermatozoa and significantly lower ability to penetrate hamster eggs. Concentrations of prostaglandins E2, Fa, and I2 and thromboxane A2 were significantly elevated in the seminal plasma from semen of diabetic subjects compared with control subjects. These observations indicate the need for a careful assessment of fertility in diabetic men, the mechanisms underlying the abnormalities in spermatozoa, and the relationship of these abnormalities to the increase in prostanoid concentrations in diabetic men.

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