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Abstract

Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2011) 13, 11–17; 10.1038/aja.2010.64

Epididymis cholesterol homeostasis and sperm fertilizing ability

Fabrice Saez, Aurélia Ouvrier and Joël R Drevet

UMR GReD CNRS 6247, INSERM U931, Clermont Université, Equipe ‘Epididyme et maturation des gamètes’, Aubière cedex 63171, France

Correspondence: Professor JR Drevet, (joel.drevet@univ-bpclermont.fr)

Abstract

Cholesterol, being the starting point of steroid hormone synthesis, is a long known modulator of both female and male reproductive physiology especially at the level of the gonads and the impact cholesterol has on gametogenesis. Less is known about the effects cholesterol homeostasis may have on postgonadic reproductive functions. Lately, several data have been reported showing how imbalanced cholesterol levels may particularly affect the post-testicular events of sperm maturation that lead to fully fertile male gametes. This review will focus on that aspect and essentially centers on how cholesterol is important for the physiology of the mammalian epididymis and spermatozoa.

Keywords: cholesterol homeostasis; epididymosomes; fertility; post-testicular maturation; spermatozoa

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