The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between the follicular fluid (FF) reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and ROS-TAC score and pregnancy after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
A total of 138 consecutive women who had ICSI were included in this study. FF ROS and TAC were measured by enhanced chemiluminescence and colorimetric assay, respectively, and then the ROS-TAC score was calculated.
Out of the 138 included patients, 42 (30%) achieved pregnancy after ICSI. Log ROS, TAC, and the ROS-TAC score were not significantly different across diagnoses. Pregnant cycles were associated with significantly lower ROS (P < 0.001), higher TAC (P < 0.001) and higher ROS-TAC scores (P < 0.001). After adjusting for age, there was a significant positive correlation between log ROS and the number of follicles on the day of HCG administration (correlation 0.20, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.39) as well as the number of oocytes retrieved (correlation 0.18, 0.001, 0.36) but not with TAC. Interestingly, in women with endometriosis, higher TAC levels and higher ROS-TAC scores were associated with a higher likelihood of finding normal oocytes (P = 0.005 and P = 0.002, respectively).
Higher FF TAC, higher FF ROS-TAC scores and lower FF ROS levels are associated with pregnancy after ICSI. Oxidative stress parameters may be markers of metabolic activity within the follicle.