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Volume 23, Issue 2 (March 2021) 23, 150–156; 10.4103/aja.aja_58_20

Green tea extract as a cryoprotectant additive to preserve the motility and DNA integrity of human spermatozoa

Odai AM Alqawasmeh1, Mingpeng Zhao1, Carol PS Chan1, Maran BW Leung1, Ki C Chow2, Nikunj Agarwal2, Jennifer SM Mak2, Chi C Wang2, Chi P Pang2, Tin C Li2, Wai K Chu2, David YL Chan2

1 Assisted Reproductive Technology Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
2 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Correspondence: Dr. DYL Chan (drdcyl16@cuhk.edu.hk)

Date of Submission 27-Feb-2020 Date of Acceptance 19-Jul-2020 Date of Web Publication 03-Nov-2020


Cryopreservation impairs sperm quality and functions, including motility and DNA integrity. Antioxidant additives in sperm freezing media have previously brought improvements in postthawed sperm quality. Green tea extract (GTE) is widely considered as an excellent antioxidant, and its beneficial role has been proven in other human cells. This study aims to evaluate the GTE as a potential additive in cryopreservation media of human spermatozoa. In part one, the semen of 20 normozoospermic men was used to optimize the concentration of GTE that maintains sperm motility and DNA integrity against oxidative stress, induced by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Spermatozoa were treated with GTE at different concentrations before incubation with H2O2. In part two, the semen of 45 patients was cryopreserved with or without 1.0 ng ml−1 GTE. After 2 weeks, the semen was thawed, and the effect on sperm motility and DNA fragmentation was observed. Our data showed that GTE significantly protected sperm motility and DNA integrity against oxidative stress induced by H2O2when added at a final concentration of 1.0 ng ml−1. We found that the addition of 1.0 ng ml−1 GTE to cryopreservation media significantly increased sperm motility and DNA integrity (both P < 0.05). More interestingly, patients with high sperm DNA damage benefited similarly from the GTE supplementation. However, there was no significant change in the reactive oxygen species (ROS) level. In conclusion, supplementing sperm freezing media with GTE has a significant protective effect on human sperm motility and DNA integrity, which may be of clinical interest.

Keywords: antioxidants; cryopreservation additives; sperm cryopreservation; sperm DNA fragmentation; sperm motility

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