For deep space exploration, reproductive health must be maintained to preserve the species. However, the mechanisms underlying the effect of changes in gravity on male germ cells remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of simulated micro- and hypergravity on mouse sperm motility and the mechanisms of this change. For 1, 3 and 6 h, mouse sperm samples isolated from the caudal epididymis were subjected to simulated microgravity using a random position machine and 2g hypergravity using a centrifuge. The experimental samples were compared with static and dynamic controls. The sperm motility and the percentage of motile sperm were determined using microscopy and video analysis, cell respiration was determined by polarography, the protein content was assessed by Western blotting and the mRNA levels were determined using qRT-PCR. The results indicated that hypergravity conditions led to more significant changes than simulated microgravity conditions: after 1 h, the speed of sperm movement decreased, and after 3 h, the number of motile cells began to decrease. Under the microgravity model, the speed of movement did not change, but the motile spermatozoa decreased after 6 h of exposure. These changes are likely associated with a change in the structure of the microtubule cytoskeleton, and changes in the energy supply are an adaptive reaction to changes in sperm motility.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited