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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Astaxanthin on Human Sperm Capacitation

Department of Molecular Medicine-Biological Chemistry, University of Padova, Padova 35131, Italy
Department of Women's and Chilren's Health, University of Padova, Padova 35131, Italy
Department of Medicine—Endocrinology, University of Padova, Padova 35131, Italy
Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, Padova 35131, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Mar. Drugs 2013, 11(6), 1909-1919;
Received: 27 February 2013 / Revised: 26 April 2013 / Accepted: 20 May 2013 / Published: 3 June 2013
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: human sperm; astaxanthin; Tyr-phosphorylation; acrosome reaction human sperm; astaxanthin; Tyr-phosphorylation; acrosome reaction
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MDPI and ACS Style

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.

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