Abstract: In order to be able to fertilize oocytes, human sperm must undergo a series of morphological and structural alterations, known as capacitation. It has been shown that the production of endogenous sperm reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays a key role in causing cells to undergo a massive acrosome reaction (AR). Astaxanthin (Asta), a photo-protective red pigment belonging to the carotenoid family, is recognized as having anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties and is present in many dietary supplements. This study evaluates the effect of Asta in a capacitating buffer which induces low ROS production and low percentages of acrosome-reacted cells (ARC). Sperm cells were incubated in the presence or absence of increasing concentrations of Asta or diamide (Diam) and analyzed for their ROS production, Tyr-phosphorylation (Tyr-P) pattern and percentages of ARC and non-viable cells (NVC). Results show that Asta ameliorated both sperm head Tyr-P and ARC values without affecting the ROS generation curve, whereas Diam succeeded in enhancing the Tyr-P level but only of the flagellum without increasing ARC values. It is suggested that Asta can be inserted in the membrane and therefore create capacitation-like membrane alteration which allow Tyr-P of the head. Once this has occurred, AR can take place and involves a higher numbers of cells.
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Donà, G.; Kožuh, I.; Brunati, A.M.; Andrisani, A.; Ambrosini, G.; Bonanni, G.; Ragazzi, E.; Armanini, D.; Clari, G.; Bordin, L. Effect of Astaxanthin on Human Sperm Capacitation. Mar. Drugs 2013, 11, 1909-1919.
Donà G, Kožuh I, Brunati AM, Andrisani A, Ambrosini G, Bonanni G, Ragazzi E, Armanini D, Clari G, Bordin L. Effect of Astaxanthin on Human Sperm Capacitation. Marine Drugs. 2013; 11(6):1909-1919.
Donà, Gabriella; Kožuh, Ivana; Brunati, Anna M.; Andrisani, Alessandra; Ambrosini, Guido; Bonanni, Guglielmo; Ragazzi, Eugenio; Armanini, Decio; Clari, Giulio; Bordin, Luciana. 2013. "Effect of Astaxanthin on Human Sperm Capacitation." Mar. Drugs 11, no. 6: 1909-1919.