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Volume 19, Issue 1 (January 2017) 19, 73–79; DOI:10.4103/1008-682X.170863

In vivo oxidative stress alters thiol redox status of peroxiredoxin 1 and 6 and impairs rat sperm quality

Yannan Liu1, 2, Cristian OFlaherty1, 2, 3, 4

1 The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada
2 Department of Surgery (Urology Division), McGill University, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, McGill University, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada
4 Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3G 1Y6, Canada

Correspondence: Dr. C OFlaherty (cristian.oflaherty@mcgill.ca)

Date of Submission 03-Aug-2015 Date of Decision 27-Aug-2015 Date of Acceptance 02-Nov-2015 Date of Web Publication 29-Jan-2016


Oxidative stress, the imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant activity is a major culprit of male infertility. Peroxiredoxins (PRDXs) are major antioxidant enzymes of mammalian spermatozoa and are thiol oxidized and inactivated by ROS in a dose-dependent manner. Their deficiency and/or inactivation have been associated with men infertility. The aim of this study was to elucidate the impact of oxidative stress, generated by the in vivo tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tert-BHP) treatment on rat epididymal spermatozoa during their maturation process. Adult Sprague-Dawley males were treated with 300 μmoles tert-BHP/kg or saline (control) per day intraperitoneal for 15 days. Lipid peroxidation (2-thibarbituric acid reactive substances assay), total amount and thiol oxidation of PRDXs along with the total amount of superoxide dismutase (SOD), motility and DNA oxidation (8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine) were determined in epididymal spermatozoa. Total amount of PRDXs and catalase and thiol oxidation of PRDXs were determined in caput and cauda epididymis. While animals were not affected by treatment, their epididymal spermatozoa have decreased motility, increased levels of DNA oxidation and lipid peroxidation along with increased PRDXs (and not SOD) amounts. Moreover, sperm PRDXs were highly thiol oxidized. There was a differential regulation in the expression of PRDX1 and PRDX6 in the epididymis that suggests a segment-specific role for PRDXs. In conclusion, PRDXs are increased in epididymal spermatozoa in an attempt to fight against the oxidative stress generated by tert-BHP in the epididymis. These findings highlight the role of PRDXs in the protection of sperm function and DNA integrity during epididymal maturation.

Keywords: antioxidant enzymes; DNA oxidation; epididymis; reactive oxygen species; spermatozoa; thiol oxidation

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