Article

Metal chelators change the human sperm motility pattern

Center for Dermatology and Andrology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.
Fertility and Sterility (Impact Factor: 4.59). 07/2003; 79 Suppl 3:1584-9. DOI: 10.1016/S0015-0282(03)00255-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the influence of zinc on the generation of motility.
Prospective study.
Outpatient clinic of the Center of Dermatology and Andrology.
Seventy-three patients and 10 sperm donors.
Motile spermatozoa were isolated by swim-up and incubated for 1, 2, 4 or 6 hours with DL-penicillamine, 2,3-dimercaptopropan-1-sulfonate, and meso-2,3-dimercapto-succinimic acid at concentrations of 1, 10, and 100 micro mol/L.
Motility was analyzed by means of computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA).
Significant dose-dependent changes in nonlinear motility, progressive motility, and velocity straight line (VSL) were observed. After only 1 hour of incubation, nonlinear motility decreased, and progressive motility and VSL increased. The percentage of immotile spermatozoa was not affected. Time-dependent changes in motility were observed on a significantly higher or lower level as compared to the control. Comparing the chelators after 2 hours revealed that DL-penicillamine showed the strongest effect on the sperm.
The results imply that chelators can eliminate at least some part of the zinc from the flagellum. This zinc elimination appears to lead to comparable changes of the outer dense fibers as seen in vivo during epididymal maturation, finally resulting in improved motility.

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    • "In vitro supplementation of metal chelators such as DLpenicillamine , 2,3-dimercaptopropan-1 sulphonate and meso-2,3-dimercapto-succinimic acid showed enhancement of sperm quality during assisted reproductive technique (Henkel and Schill, 2003). In a study by Wroblewski et al, incubating sperm with D-penicillamine significantly increased sperm motility (Wroblewski et al, 2003). Cadmium (Cd), a class B element, is capable of replacing zinc, thereby exerting its toxic effect in spermatogenesis . "
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    • "Coincidentally, previous studies on human semen from infertile patients and healthy donors revealed repeatedly a negative correlation between the zinc concentration in the flagella and the capacity for sperm motility and velocity (Henkel et al., 1999). Recently, a significant increase in the percentage of progressively motile human sperm, accompanied by a significant increase of straight line velocity, was observed after incubation with extracellular zinc chelators (Wroblewski et al., 2003). "
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