We evaluated the in vitro development of porcine zygotes that were cultured in a novel culture medium, porcine zygote medium (PZM), under different conditions and compared to in vivo development. The viability of these zygotes to full term after culture was also evaluated by embryo transfer to recipients. Porcine single-cell zygotes were collected from gilts on Day 2 after hCG injection. Culture of zygotes in PZM containing 3 mg/ml of BSA (PZM-3) produced better results in terms of proportion of Day 6 blastocysts, Day 8 hatching rate, and numbers of inner cell mass (ICM) cells and total cells in Day 8 embryos than that in North Carolina State University (NCSU)-23 medium. In culture with PZM-3, embryo development was optimized in an atmosphere of 5% CO 2 :5% O 2 :90% N 2 compared to 5% CO 2 in air. The ICM and total cell numbers in Day 6 embryos cultured in PZM-3 or in PZM-3 in which BSA was replaced with 3 mg/ml of polyvinyl alcohol (PZM-4) were also greater than those of NCSU-23 but less than those developed in vivo. However, no difference was found in the ratio of ICM to total cells among embryos developed in PZM-3, PZM-4, or in vivo. When the Day 6 embryos that developed in PZM-4 (99 embryos) or in vivo (100 embryos) were each transferred into six recipients, no difference was found in the farrowing rate (83.3% for both treatments) and in the number of piglets born (33 and 42 piglets, respectively). Our results indicate that porcine zygotes can develop into blastocysts in a chemically defined medium and to full term by transfer to recipients after culture.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, known to be present in the environment, have great potential for interfering with reproductive health in wildlife and humans. There is, however, little direct evidence that endocrine disruption has adversely affected fertility in any organism. In freshwater and estuarine fish species, for example, although a widespread incidence of intersex has been reported, it is not yet known if intersexuality influences reproductive success. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to determine gamete quality in wild intersex roach ( Rutilus rutilus ) by assessing sperm characteristics, fertilization success, and ability to produce viable offspring. The results clearly demonstrate that gamete production is reduced in intersex roach. A significantly lower proportion of moderately or severely feminized fish (17.4% and 33.3%, respectively) were able to release milt compared with normal male fish from contaminated rivers (in which 97.6% of the males were able to release milt), reference male fish (97.7%), or less severely feminized intersex fish (experiment 1: 85.8%, experiment 2: 97%). Intersex fish that did produce milt produced up to 50% less (in terms of volume per gram of testis weight) than did histologically normal male fish. Moreover, sperm motility (percentage of motile sperm and curvilinear velocity) and the ability of sperm to successfully fertilize eggs and produce viable offspring were all reduced in intersex fish compared with normal male fish. Male gamete quality (assessed using sperm motility, sperm density, and fertilization success) was negatively correlated with the degree of feminization in intersex fish ( r = â0.603; P < 0.001) and was markedly reduced in severely feminized intersex fish by as much as 50% in terms of motility and 75% in terms of fertilization success when compared with either less severely feminized intersex fish or unaffected male fish. This is the first evidence documenting a relationship between the morphological effects (e.g., intersex) of endocrine disruption and the reproductive capabilities of any wild vertebrate. The results suggest that mixtures of endocrine-disrupting substances discharged into the aquatic environment could pose a threat to male reproductive health.
Numerous studies have shown the presence of DNA strand breaks in human ejaculated spermatozoa. The nature of this nuclear anomaly and its relationship to patient etiology is however poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between nuclear DNA damage, assessed using the TUNEL assay and a number of key apoptotic markers, including Fas, Bcl-x, and p53, in ejaculated human spermatozoa from men with normal and abnormal semen parameters. We also determined the nature of the DNA damage by examining the percentage of ejaculated spermatozoa exhibiting DNA damage using the comet assay and by challenging sperm chromatin to attack by micrococcal nuclease S7 and DNase I. We show that TUNEL positivity and apoptotic markers do not always exist in unison; however, semen samples that had a low sperm concentration and poor morphology were more likely to show high levels of TUNEL positivity and Fas and p53 expression. In addition, the DNA damage in ejaculated human sperm is represented by both single- and double-stranded DNA breaks, and access to the DNA is restricted by the compacted nature of ejaculated spermatozoa. This DNA protection is poorer in men with abnormal semen parameters. We propose that the presence of DNA damage is not directly linked to an apoptotic process occurring in spermatozoa and arises due to problems in the nuclear remodeling process. Subsequently, the presence of apoptotic proteins in ejaculated spermatozoa may be linked to defects in cytoplasmic remodeling during the later stages of spermatogenesis.
Disruption in gonadal development of wild roach living in U.K. rivers receiving large volumes of treated sewage effluent is manifest in a variety of ways, ranging from malformation of the germ cells and/or reproductive ducts to altered gamete production. Intersex fish were also found to have an altered endocrine status and an elevated concentration of plasma vitellogenin. Gonadal growth was inhibited only in severely intersex fish, whereas progression of spermatogenesis was delayed in a large proportion of all intersex and exposed male fish. In contrast to the effects observed in the intersex and exposed male fish, the maturation of ovaries in female fish inhabiting effluent-contaminated rivers appeared to be less obviously affected, although a higher incidence of oocyte atresia was found in the effluent-exposed fish compared with the reference fish. A positive correlation was found between the proportion of female tissue in the gonads of intersex fish and their plasma vitellogenin concentration, suggesting that vitellogenin can be an indicator for the level of gonadal disruption in intersex roach. The estradiol-17Î² concentration in intersex fish was intermediate between the concentration found in males and females, and the plasma testosterone was between 2- and 3-fold higher in intersex fish compared with male fish. These data suggest a link between altered endocrine status in intersex and female fish and gonadal disruption. Spermiation was also affected in roach living in effluent-impacted rivers: a lower proportion of fish were found releasing sperm, and in those intersex fish that were spermiating, a reduced milt volume and a reduced sperm density were found. All intersex fish had malformations of the reproductive duct(s), and in severely affected fish, the ducts were occluded, thus preventing release of gametes. In view of the widespread occurrence of intersexuality in wild fish populations in rivers throughout the United Kingdom, assessment of the reproductive capabilities of these intersex roach is clearly needed to understand the impact of this phenomenon on roach fertility.
The large offspring syndrome (LOS) is observed in bovine and ovine offspring following transfer of in vitro-produced (IVP) or cloned embryos and is characterized by a multitude of pathologic changes, of which extended gestation length and increased birthweight are predominant features. In the present study, we used bovine blastocysts to analyze cellular parameters, i.e., the number of cells in Day 7 blastocysts and the size of Day 12 elongating blastocysts, and molecular parameters, i.e., the relative abundance of developmentally important genes: glucose transporter (Glut) 1, Glut-2, Glut-3, Glut-4, heat shock protein (Hsp) 70.1, Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD), histone H4.1, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF) I receptor (R), and IGFII-R. Some blastocysts were produced by in vitro maturation and fertilization followed by in vitro culture in synthetic oviduct fluid medium supplemented with BSA or human serum or by in vivo culture in the sheep oviduct. Other blastocysts were derived in vivo from the uterine horns of superovulated donors. The findings made in the early embryos were related to a representative number of calves obtained from each production system and from artificial insemination (AI). In vitro culture of bovine embryos in the presence of high concentrations of serum or BSA significantly increased the number of cells in Day 7 blastocysts, the size of blastocysts on Day 12, and the relative abundance of the transcripts for Hsp70.1, Cu/Zn-SOD, Glut-3, Glut-4, bFGF, and IGFI-R when compared with embryos from the in vivo production groups. Birthweights of calves derived from IVP embryos were significantly higher than those of calves derived from sheep oviduct culture, superovulation, or AI. The results support the hypothesis that persistence of early deviations in development is causally involved in the incidence of LOS, in particular in increased birthweights. The cellular and molecular parameters analyzed in this study can be considered early markers of LOS in cattle.
Proinflammatory cytokines are implicated in the initiation and progression of human labor and delivery, particularly in relation to infection-induced preterm labor. In nongestational tissues, the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-ÎºB) transcription pathway is a key regulator of proinflammatory cytokine release. In these tissues, sulfasalazine (SASP), through its ability to inhibit NF-ÎºB activation, inhibits release of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-Î±. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether or not NF-ÎºB activation regulates the formation of proinflammatory cytokines in human gestational tissues. Human placenta, amnion, and choriodecidua (n = 9 separate placentas) were incubated with 10 Î¼g/ml of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the absence (control) or presence of SASP (0.1, 1, 5, or 10 mM). After 6 h of incubation, the tissues were collected, and NF-ÎºB DNA binding activity in nuclear extracts was assessed by electromobility shift binding assay. The incubation medium was collected and the release of IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-Î± was quantified by ELISA. Treatment of placenta, amnion, and choriodecidua with SASP at concentrations 5 mM or greater significantly inhibited the release of IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-Î±, and NF-ÎºB activation (ANOVA, P < 0.05). The data presented in this study demonstrate that the NF-ÎºB transcription pathway is a key regulator of LPS-stimulated IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-Î± release from human gestational tissues. The control of NF-ÎºB activation may therefore provide an alternative therapeutic strategy for reducing the release of proinflammatory mediators in infection associated preterm labor.
Abstract Somatic cell nuclear transfer was used to produce live piglets from cultured fetal fibroblast cells. This was achieved by exposing donor cell nuclei to oocyte cytoplasm for approximately 3 h before activation by chemical means. Initially, an experiment was performed to optimize a cell fusion system that prevented concurrent activation in the majority of recipient cytoplasts. Cultured fibroblast cells were fused in medium with or without calcium into enucleated oocytes flushed from superovulated gilts. Cybrids fused in the presence of calcium cleaved at a significantly (P < 0.05) greater rate (69%, 37 out of 54) after 2 days of culture compared with those fused without calcium (10%, 7 out of 73), suggesting that calcium-free conditions are needed to avoid activation in the majority of recipient cytoplasts during fusion. In the second experiment, cybrids fused in calcium-free medium were activated approximately 3 h later with ionomycin, followed by incubation in 6-dimethylaminopurine to determine d...
There are two estrogen receptor (ER) subtypes in fish, ERÎ± and ERÎ², and increasing evidence that the ERÎ² subtype has more than one form. However, there is little information on the characteristics and functional significance of these ERs in adults and during development. Here, we report the cloning and characterization of three functional ER forms, zfERÎ±, zfERÎ²1, and zfERÎ²2, in the zebrafish. The percentages of identity between these receptors suggest the existence of three distinct genes. Each cDNA encoded a protein that specifically bound estradiol with a dissociation constant ranging from 0.4 nM (zfERÎ²2) to 0.75 nM (zfERÎ± and zfERÎ²1). In transiently transfected cells, all three forms were able to induce, in a dose-dependent manner, the expression of a reporter gene driven by a consensus estrogen responsive element; zfERÎ²2 was slightly more sensitive than zfERÎ± and zfERÎ²1. Tissue distribution pattern, analyzed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, showed that the three zfER mRNAs largely overlap and are predominantly expressed in brain, pituitary, liver, and gonads. In situ hybridization was performed to study in more detail the distribution of the three zfER mRNAs in the brain of adult females. The zfER mRNAs exhibit distinct but partially overlapping patterns of expression in two neuroendocrine regions, the preoptic area and the mediobasal hypothalamus. The characterization of these zfERs provides a new perspective for understanding the mechanisms underlying estradiol actions in a vertebrate species commonly used for developmental studies.
Using reverse transcriptase-amplified fragment length polymorphism (RT-AFLP) analysis of differential mRNA expression and semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, we compared mRNA expression in bovine blastocysts from 4 sources, known to differ in quality in terms of their ability to withstand cryopreservation: 1) in vitro culture in synthetic oviduct fluid of in vitro-matured (IVM)/in vitro fertilized (IVF) zygotes; 2) in vitro culture in TCM-199 supplemented with granulosa cells (coculture) of IVM/IVF zygotes; 3) in vivo culture in the ewe oviduct of IVM/IVF zygotes; or 4) superovulation, artificial insemination, and nonsurgical embryo recovery. Total mRNA was isolated from pools of blastocysts and reverse transcription was performed. Triplicate reactions from each sample were displayed, and only consistent banding variations were recorded. Using AFLP-differential display assay, we found that cDNA banding patterns are highly conserved between the 4 groups of blastocysts studied; however, there was a difference of 7% in bands either missing or expressed across the groups. Fifty bands were reamplified, and a sequence comparison search revealed similarity of 14 isolated fragments to ribosomal and mitochondrial genes, 16 matched to described cDNA, and 20 corresponded to unknown sequences that may represent novel genes. The study of 7 differentially expressed mRNAs known to be involved in developmental process in the embryo suggests roles for apoptosis, oxidative stress, gap junctions, and differentiation in the determination of embryo quality. The aberrant transcription patterns detected in in vitro-produced bovine embryos compared with those produced in vivo may explain their reduced quality in terms of viability after cryopreservation.
Abstract Nuclear transfer from somatic cells still has limited efficiency in terms of live calves born due to high fetal loss after transfer. In this study, we addressed the type of donor cells used for cloning in in vivo development. We used a combination of repeated ultrasonography and maternal pregnancy serum protein (PSP60) assays to monitor the evolution of pregnancy after somatic cloning in order to detect the occurrence of late-gestation losses and their frequency, compared with embryo cloning or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Incidence of loss between Day 90 of gestation and calving was 43.7% for adult somatic clones and 33.3% for fetal somatic clones, compared with 4.3% after embryo cloning and 0% in the control IVF group. Using PSP60 levels in maternal blood as a criterion for placental function, we observed that after somatic cloning, recipients that lost their pregnancy before Day 100 showed significantly higher PSP60 levels by Day 50 than those that maintained pregnancy (7.77 ± 3.3 ng/ml vs. 2...
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that both growth differential factor 9 (GDF9) and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP15; also known as GDF9B) are essential for normal ovarian follicular development in mammals with a low ovulation rate phenotype. Sheep (9â10 per group) were immunized with keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH; control), a GDF9-specific peptide conjugated to KLH (GDF9 peptide), a BMP15-specific peptide conjugated to KLH (BMP15 peptide), or the mature region of oBMP15 conjugated to KLH (oBMP15 mature protein) for a period of 7 mo and the effects of these treatments on various ovarian parameters such as ovarian follicular development, ovulation rate, and plasma progesterone concentrations evaluated. Also in the present study, we examined, by immunohistochemistry, the cellular localizations of GDF9 and BMP15 proteins in the ovaries of lambs. Both GDF9 and BMP15 proteins were localized specifically within ovarian follicles to the oocyte, thereby establishing for the sheep that the oocyte is the only intraovarian source of these growth factors. Immunization with either GDF9 peptide or BMP15 peptide caused anovulation in 7 of 10 and 9 of 10 ewes, respectively, when assessed at ovarian collection. Most ewes (7 of 10) immunized with oBMP15 mature protein had a least one observable estrus during the experimental period, and ovulation rate at this estrus was higher in these ewes compared with those immunized with KLH alone. In both the KLH-GDF9 peptide- and KLH-BMP15 peptide-treated ewes, histological examination of the ovaries at recovery (i.e., â¼7 mo after the primary immunization) showed that most animals had few, if any, normal follicles beyond the primary (i.e., type 2) stage of development. In addition, abnormalities such as enlarged oocytes surrounded by a single layer of flattened and/or cuboidal granulosa cells or oocyte-free nodules of granulosa cells were often observed, especially in the anovulatory ewes. Passive immunization of ewes, each given 100 ml of a pool of plasma from the GDF9 peptide- or BMP15 peptide-immunized ewes at 4 days before induction of luteal regression also disrupted ovarian function. The ewes given the plasma against the GDF9 peptide formed 1â2 corpora lutea but 3 of 5 animals did not display normal luteal phase patterns of progesterone concentrations. The effect of plasma against the BMP15 peptide was more dramatic, with 4 of 5 animals failing to ovulate and 3 of 5 ewes lacking surface-visible antral follicles at laparoscopy. By contrast, administration of plasma against KLH did not affect ovulation rate or luteal function in any animal. In conclusion, these findings support the hypothesis that, in mammals with a low ovulation rate phenotype, both oocyte-derived GDF9 and BMP15 proteins are essential for normal follicular development, including both the early and later stages of growth.
Abstract Porcine in vitro production (IVP) systems, including in vitro maturation (IVM) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) of oocytes and their subsequent in vitro culture (IVC), have been modified by many researchers, but are still at a low level because of a low developmental rate of embryos to the blastocyst stage and their poor qualities. Our objectives were to establish reliable IVP procedures for porcine blastocysts and to examine the ability of the blastocysts to develop to term after transfer to recipients. Porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes were matured in vitro under 5% O2 or 20% O2, fertilized in vitro under 5% O2, and subsequently cultured under 5% O2 in 1) IVC medium supplemented with glucose (IVC-Glu) from Day 0 (the day of IVF) to Day 6; 2) IVC-Glu from Days 0 to 2, then IVC medium supplemented with pyruvate and lactate (IVC-PyrLac) from Days 2 to 6; 3) IVC-PyrLac from Days 0 to 2, then IVC-Glu from Days 2 to 6; and 4) IVC-PyrLac from Days 0 to 6. There were no significant differences in blasto...
Leptin is a product of the ob gene that is produced primarily by adipose tissue. Leptin and its receptors are found within the ovary, but it is unclear what function this hormone has in the ovary. Using immunohistochemistry, we determined that leptin is found in most cell types in the murine ovary, with the highest staining levels observed in the oocyte. Leptin receptor was also expressed in all of the main ovarian cell types, with the thecal cell layer exhibiting the highest staining levels. Leptin administration did not affect spontaneous or induced maturation of either isolated denuded oocytes or cumulus-oocyte complexes, but it did significantly increase the rate of meiotic resumption in preovulatory follicle-enclosed oocytes ( P < 0.01). Measurements of cAMP within oocytes cultured with leptin showed that this enhanced ability to resume meiosis does not occur via activation of phosphodiesterase 3B and subsequent cAMP reduction. These results provide evidence that leptin affects oocyte maturation when the oocyte is cultured within its normal follicular environment. It is suggested that leptin may induce the production of another factor, possibly from thecal cells, that directly or indirectly acts on the oocyte to initiate germinal vesicle breakdown in this species.
The present study demonstrated that brief treatment of in vitro-matured porcine oocytes with demecolcine results in a membrane protrusion that contains a condensed chromosome mass, which can be easily removed by aspiration. This simple, chemically assisted method for removing maternal chromosomes enabled the production of a large number of nuclear-transferred porcine eggs. The development of eggs whose chromosomes were removed by this procedure following transfer of somatic cell nuclei to the blastocyst stage was not significantly different among groups activated using different procedures (6% to 11%) and was also not different among donor cells of different origins (3% to 9%), except for cumulus cells (0.4%). After transfer of 180 to 341 nuclear-transferred eggs that received somatic cells to 6 recipients, 2 of the recipients produced 8 healthy cloned piglets from the heart cells of a female pig. The chemically assisted method for removing maternal chromosomes was also effective for bovine and rabbit eggs.
Abstract Outbred CD-1 mice were treated neonatally on Days 1–5 with the phytoestrogen, genistein (1, 10, or 100 μg per pup per day), and ovaries were collected on Days 5, 12, and 19. Ribonuclease protection assay analysis of ovarian mRNA showed that estrogen receptor β (ERβ) predominated over ERα in controls and increased with age. Genistein treatment did not alter ERβ expression, however, ERα expression was higher on Days 5 and 12. ERβ was immunolocalized in granulosa cells, whereas ERα was immunolocalized in interstitial and thecal cells. Genistein treatment caused a dramatic increase in ERα in granulosa cells. Genistein-treated ERβ knockout mice showed a similar induction of ERα, which is seen in CD-1 mice, suggesting that ERβ does not mediate this effect. Similar ERα induction in granulosa cells was seen in CD-1 mice treated with lavendustin A, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has no known estrogenic actions, which suggests that this property of genistein may be responsible. As a functional analysis, ...
In mammals, the study of gene expression in the preimplantation embryo has been difficult because the standard procedures used to quantify mRNA generally require large amounts of starting material. The development of protocols using different quantitative strategies generally involving the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has provided new tools for exploration of gene expression in preimplantation embryos. However, the use of an internal standard, often referred as a housekeeping gene, is essential to normalize the mRNA levels. RNA levels of eight housekeeping genes were quantified using real time PCR throughout the preimplantation period of the bovine embryo to find the most suitable gene to be used as standard. Histone H2a was the best internal standard because the transcript levels were constant across the preimplantation period. Linear amplification of antisense RNA using the T7 promotor for in vitro transcription of the entire RNA pool was evaluated as a suitable way to preamplify the starting material prior to quantification and was effective in providing accurate RNA abundance profiles throughout the preimplantation period. However, the amplification appears to be template dependent because the amplification factors were higher for some genes.
Each of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1Î², IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) Î± has been identified in reproductive tissues during labor. The cellular origin of these cytokines is unclear. The aim of this study was to localize these proinflammatory cytokines in myometrium (upper and lower segment), cervix, and fetal membranes at term. Biopsies were taken from women undergoing cesarean section either before or after the onset of labor. Immunohistochemistry was used to localize each of the cytokines IL-1Î², IL-6, IL-8, and TNFÎ±. Leukocytes were localized using an antibody to CD45. In myometrium and cervix, immunostaining for IL-1Î² was predominantly in leukocytes. In fetal membranes, IL-1Î² localized to leukocytes and to the stromal cells of the decidua. In myometrium, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFÎ± were restricted to leukocytes, which were present in greater numbers in tissue obtained during labor. In cervix, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFÎ± localized to leukocytes and glandular and surface epithelium. IL-8 also localized to cervical stromal cells. In fetal membranes, IL-6 and TNFÎ± were expressed by decidual stromal cells, infiltrating leukocytes, and extravillous trophoblasts. In membranes, IL-8 localized to leukocytes in the chorion but was not detected in the amnion. In fetal membranes collected at labor, IL-8 was expressed in decidual stromal cells. Infiltrating leukocytes are a major source of cytokines in uterine tissues during labor.
Outbred CD-1 mice were treated neonatally on Days 1-5 with the phytoestrogen, genistein (1, 10, or 100 mug per pup per day), and ovaries were collected on Days 5, 12, and 19. Ribonuclease protection assay analysis of ovarian mRNA showed that estrogen receptor 0 (ERR) predominated over ERalpha in controls and increased with age. Genistein treatment did not alter ERR expression, however, ERalpha expression was higher on Days 5 and 12. ERbeta was immunolocalized in granulosa cells, whereas Met was immunolocalized in interstitial and thecal cells. Genistein treatment caused a dramatic increase in Mat in granulosa cells. Genistein-treated ERR knockout mice showed a similar induction of ERalpha, which is seen in CD-1 mice, suggesting that ERR does not mediate this effect. Similar ERalpha induction in granulosa cells was seen in CD-1 mice treated with lavendustin A, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has no known estrogenic actions, which suggests that this property of genistein may be responsible. As a functional analysis, genistein-treated mice were superovulated and the number of oocytes was counted. A statistically significant increase in the number of ovulated oocytes was observed with the lowest dose, whereas a decrease was observed with the two higher doses. This increase in ovulatory capacity with the low dose coincided with higher ERalpha expression. Histological evaluations on Day 19 revealed a dose-related increase in multioocyte follicles (MOFs) in genistein-treated mice. Tyrosine kinase inhibition was apparently not responsible for MOFs because they were not present in mice that had been treated with lavendustin; however, ERbeta must play a role, because mice lacking ERR showed no MOFs. These data taken together demonstrate alterations in the ovary following neonatal exposure to genistein. Given that human infants are exposed to high levels of genistein in soy-based foods, this study indicates that the effects of such exposure on the developing reproductive tract warrant further investigation.
The selenoprotein phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPx) accounts for almost the entire selenium content of mammalian testis. PHGPx is abundantly expressed in spermatids as active peroxidase but is transformed to an oxidatively inactivated protein in mature sperm, where it is a major constituent of the mitochondrial capsule in the midpiece. Male infertility in selenium-deficient animals, which is characterized by impaired sperm motility and morphological midpiece alterations, is considered to result from insufficient PHGPx content. We studied the relationship between sperm PHGPx, measured as rescued activity, and human fertility. Sperm specimens from 75 infertile men and 37 controls were analyzed for fertility-related parameters according to World Health Organization criteria. The PHGPx protein content was estimated after reductive solubilization of the spermatozoa by measuring the rescued PHGPx activity. Rescued PHGPx activity of infertile men ranged significantly below that of controls (93.2 Â± 60.1 units/mg sperm protein vs. 187.5 Â± 55.3 units/mg) and was particularly low in oligoasthenozoospermic specimens (61.93 Â± 45.42 units/mg; P < 0.001 compared with controls and asthenozoospermic samples). Rescued PHGPx activity was correlated positively with viability, morphological integrity, and most profoundly forward motility ( r = 0.35, 0.44, and 0.45, respectively). In isolated motile samples, motility decreased faster with decreasing PHGPx content. In humans, PHGPx appears to be indispensable for structural integrity of spermatozoa and to codetermine sperm motility and viability. Because the content of PHGPx, irrespective of the cause of alteration, is correlated with fertility-related parameters, PHGPx can be considered a predictive measure for fertilization capacity.
The present study was conducted to detect sperm apoptosis in fresh and frozen semen and to determine its relationship with bull fertility. Three ejaculates were collected from five breeding bulls with different fertility levels and were cryopreserved using standard methods. Two flow cytometric methods were employed to measure apoptosis: an assay for phosphatidylserine (PS) translocation across the plasma membranes using fluorescein-labeled Annexin V and propidium iodide (PI), and an assay for nicked DNA using bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, and fluorescein-labeled anti-BrdU monoclonal antibody. Both assays showed that fresh sperm contained 10%â20% apoptotic sperm. Significant differences in the percentage of apoptotic sperm were observed among the bulls. Cryopreservation induced translocation of PS to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane and caused most of the necrotic cells in fresh sperm to disintegrate. Bull fertility was significantly related to the percentage of necrotic or viable sperm in fresh semen as detected by the Annexin V/PI assay, to the number of apoptotic sperm in fresh semen as detected by the TUNEL assay, and to the level of chromatin or DNA condensation as detected by PI staining. The present study suggests that the presence of apoptotic spermatozoa in fresh semen could be one of the reasons for poor fertility in breeding bulls.