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Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2004) 6, 313–318;

Relationship between acrosin activity of human spermatozoa and oxidative stress

A.A. Zalata, A.H. Ahmed, S.S.R. Allamaneni, F.H. Comhaire, A. Agarwal

1.Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Egypt
    2.Department Dermatology, Venereology & Andrology, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Egypt
    3.Center for Advanced Research in Human Reproduction, Infertility, and Sexual Function, Glickman Urological Institute and Department of Obstetrics-Gynecology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, USA
    4.University Hospital Ghent, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Ghent, Belgium

Advance online publication 1 December 2004


Aim: To study the association between seminal oxidative stress and human sperm acrosin activity. Methods: It is a prospective study consisting of 30 infertile men and 12 fertile normozoospermic volunteers. A full history, clinical examination and scrotal ultrasound were done to exclude other related factors such as smoking and varicocele. Presence of white blood cells (WBCs) in semen samples was evaluated by peroxidase staining. Lipid peroxidation in spermatozoa was induced after incubating with ferrous sulphate (4 mmol/L) and sodium ascorbate (20 mmol/L). Induced peroxidation of spermatozoa was assessed by determining the production of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Acrosin activity was measured using the gelatinolysis technique. The halo diameters around the sperm heads and the percentages of spermatozoa showing halo formation were evaluated. An acrosin activity index was calculated by multiplying the halo diameter by the halo formation rate. Results: A significant difference was observed in acrosin activity parameters and TBARS levels between samples with WBCs (>1×106/mL of ejaculate) and those without. This difference was also noted between the normozoospermic and the oligoasthenoteratozoospermic semen samples. The TBARS production by spermatozoa had a significant negative correlation with the acrosin activity index (r = -0.89, P <0.001). Conclusion: The presence of oxidative stress in an individual with leukocytospermia and/or abnormal semen parameters is associated with impaired sperm function as measured by its acrosin activity.

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