Metabolic syndrome (MetS) and infertility are two afflictions with a high prevalence in the general population. MetS is a global health problem increasing worldwide, while infertility affects up to 12% of men. Despite the high prevalence of these conditions, the possible impact of MetS on male fertility has been investigated by a few authors only in the last decade. In addition, underlying mechanism(s) connecting the two conditions have been investigated in few preclinical studies. The aim of this review is to summarize and critically discuss available clinical and preclinical studies on the role of MetS (and its treatment) in male fertility. An extensive Medline search was performed identifying studies in the English language. While several studies support an association between MetS and hypogonadism, contrasting results have been reported on the relationship between MetS and semen parameters/male infertility, and the available studies considered heterogeneous MetS definitions and populations. So far, only two meta-analyses in clinical and preclinical studies, respectively, evaluated this topic, reporting a negative association between MetS and sperm parameters, testosterone and FSH levels, advocating, however, larger prospective investigations. In conclusion, a possible negative impact of MetS on male reproductive potential was reported; however, larger studies are needed.
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