[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) are suspected to interfere with hormone activity and the normal homeostasis of spermatogenesis. We investigated the relationships between sperm DNA fragmentation, apoptotic markers identified on ejaculated spermatozoa and POP levels in the blood of 652 adult males (200 Inuits from Greenland, 166 Swedish, 134 Polish and 152 Ukrainian). Serum levels of 2, 2', 4, 4', 5, 5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153), as a proxy of the total POP burden, and of 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE), as a proxy of the total DDT exposure were determined. Sperm DNA fragmentation was measured by using the TUNEL assay, whereas immunofluorescence methods were utilized for detecting pro-apoptotic (Fas) and anti-apoptotic (Bcl-xL) markers. Both TUNEL assay and apoptotic markers were statistically differed across the four populations. No correlation between neither sperm DNA fragmentation nor apoptotic sperm parameters and the large variations in POPs exposure was observed for the separate study groups. However, considering the European populations taken together, we showed that both %TUNEL positivity and Bcl-xL were related to CB-153 serum levels, whereas our study failed to demonstrate any relations between DDE and %TUNEL positivity and apoptotic sperm biomarkers (Fas and Bcl-xL) in any region or overall regions. These results suggest that CB-153 and related chemicals might alter sperm DNA integrity and Bcl-xL levels in European adult males, but not in the highly exposed Inuit men. Additional issues (genetic background, lifestyle habits and characterization of total xeno-hormonal activities) need to be investigated in order to fully assess the population variations observed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucose metabolism is necessary for successful fertilization in the mouse. Both spermatozoa and oocytes metabolize glucose through the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), and NADPH appears required for gamete fusion. The aims of this study were to further characterize the utilization of glucose by the fertilizing spermatozoon and the fertilized oocyte, to demonstrate the importance of the PPP in different steps of fertilization, and to examine whether the beneficial effect of glucose could be mediated by a NADPH-dependent enzyme involved in redox regulation. By using a fluorescent analog of 2-deoxyglucose, glucose uptake was evidenced in both the head and flagellum of motile spermatozoa. After sperm-oocyte fusion, an increase in glucose uptake by the fertilized oocyte was observed but not before the formation of the male and female pronuclei. By using a microphotometric technique, activity of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), the key enzyme of the PPP, was localized to the sperm head and midpiece. When epididymal spermatozoa were released into a glucose-containing medium, the NADPH/NADP ratio increased with capacitation. Sperm-oocyte fusion and meiosis reinitiation of the fertilized oocyte was inhibited by the PPP inhibitor 6-aminonicotinamide (6-AN); inhibition of sperm-oocyte fusion was relieved by NADPH. Sperm-oocyte fusion and meiosis reinitiation were also inhibited by diphenylamine iodonium, which is a flavoenzyme inhibitor reported to prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in mouse spermatozoa and embryos. These findings indicate that the PPP is involved in different steps of fertilization. Subsequent regulation of a NADPH-dependent flavoenzyme responsible of ROS production is envisaged.
Molecular Reproduction and Development 05/2005; 70(4):494-503. · 2.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate whether removal of extraneous cells and immotile spermatozoa from a sperm preparation by density gradient centrifugation could help to maintain normal spermatozoa in a viable state and retain their deoxyribonucleic acid integrity.
Sperm motility was assessed on a daily basis in aliquots of neat semen, extended semen, and spermatozoa prepared on a PureSperm density gradient. At the same time, aliquots of each sperm sample were preserved for TUNEL assay and nick translation.
Spermatozoa prepared using density gradient centrifugation survived three times as long as spermatozoa in neat semen or in extended semen. Both deoxyribonucleic acid integrity and sperm motility were retained in the gradient preparations.
Preparing spermatozoa by density gradient centrifugation is advantageous in prolonging sperm survival and maintaining deoxyribonucleic acid integrity, presumably by removing sources of reactive oxygen species. Stored spermatozoa could be used for a second attempt at fertilization if oocyte immaturity was suspected.
Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 07/2004; 21(6):217-22. · 1.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After in vitro fertilization with spermatozoa from bulls with high in vitro fertility, a beneficial paternal effect is manifested during the G1 phase of the first cell cycle. This benefit determines an earlier onset of the first S phase, and then a successful morula-blastocyst transition 7 days later. We hypothesized that the origin of the paternal effect could be a shift of the metabolism of the fertilized oocyte, because in mice, sperm decondensation is responsible for a dramatic increase in glucose metabolism. In this study we investigated the interaction between both pronuclei and compared glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) activities in bovine oocytes fertilized with spermatozoa from bulls of high or low fertility. Here we demonstrate that male pronucleus formation is necessary for the onset of the S phase in the female pronucleus, and that the component promoting an early S phase in both pronuclei is metabolic and linked to an up-regulation of the PPP during the male pronucleus formation. This long-lasting paternal effect is more evidence of the important role of epigenetic control during early embryo development.
Biology of Reproduction 06/2003; 68(5):1934-40. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian sperm must undergo a process known as capacitation before fertilization can take place. A key intracellular event that occurs during capacitation is protein tyrosine phosphorylation. The objective of this study was to investigate and visualize protein tyrosine phosphorylation patterns in human sperm during capacitation and interaction with the zona pellucida. The presence of specific patterns was also assessed in relation to the fertilizing capacity of the spermatozoa after in vitro fertilization. Protein tyrosine phosphorylation was investigated by immunofluorescence. Phosphorylation increased significantly with capacitation and was localized mainly to the principal piece of human sperm. Following binding to the zona pellucida, the percentage of sperm with phosphotyrosine residues localized to both the neck and the principal piece was significantly higher in bound sperm than in capacitated sperm in suspension. When the percentage of principal piece-positive sperm present after capacitation was <7%, fertilization rates after in vitro fertilization were reduced. Different compartments of human spermatozoa undergo a specific sequence of phosphorylation during both capacitation and upon binding to the zona pellucida. Tyrosine phosphorylation in the principal and neck piece may be considered a prerequisite for fertilization in humans.
Biology of Reproduction 05/2003; 68(4):1463-9. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spermatozoa undergo a series of changes before and during egg binding to acquire the ability to fuse with the oocyte. These priming events are regulated by the activation of compartmentalized intracellular signalling pathways, which control the phosphorylation status of sperm proteins. Increased protein tyrosine phosphorylation is associated with capacitation, hyperactivated motility, zona pellucida binding, acrosome reaction and sperm-oocyte binding and fusion. The main tyrosine phosphorylated proteins during the course of capacitation and fertilization are localized to the flagellum, although tyrosine phosphorylation of less abundant proteins may also be regulated in the sperm head. Spermatozoa bound to the zona pellucida and fusing with the oocyte plasma membrane are characterized by a tyrosine phosphorylated flagellum. Protein phosphorylation in the flagellum is linked to hyperactivated motility in spermatozoa, but may also regulate additional functions involved in sperm-oocyte fusion. Factors involved in the appearance of phosphorylation more likely arise from the milieu surrounding the spermatozoa, but their uptake and processing are likely to be regulated differentially at specific steps within the female genital tract and during penetration of the egg vestments. One of these factors is glucose, the metabolic products of which (ATP and NADPH) appear to participate in signalling pathways by supporting a precise onset of tyrosine phosphorylation in the sperm flagellum leading to successful fertilization.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low voltage activated, voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels are expressed in rodent male germ cells and are believed to be pivotal in induction of the acrosome reaction in mouse spermatozoa. However, in humans, very little is known about expression of voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels in male germ cells or their function. We have used reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization, and patch clamp recording to investigate the expression of low voltage activated voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels in human male germ cells. We report that full-length transcripts for both alpha(1G) and alpha(1H) low voltage activated channel subunits are expressed in human testis. Multiple isoforms of alpha(1G) are present in the testis and at least two isoforms of alpha(1H), including a splice variant not previously described in the human. Transcripts for all the isoforms of both alpha(1G) and alpha(1H) were detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction on mRNA isolated from human spermatogenic cells. In situ hybridization for alpha(1G) and alpha(1H) localized transcripts both in germ cells and in other cell types in the testis. Within the seminiferous tubules, alpha(1H) was detected primarily in germ cells. Using the whole cell patch clamp technique, we detected T-type voltage-operated Ca(2+) channel currents in isolated human male germ cells, although the current amplitude and frequency of occurrence were low in comparison to the occurrence of T-currents in murine male germ cells. We conclude that low voltage activated voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels are expressed in cells of the human male germ line.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2002; 277(10):8449-56. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the most viable embryos for transfer.
Study 1: Preselection of early-cleaving 2-cell embryos for transfer. Study 2: Alternating weeks during which preselection was performed and not performed.
ART program, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Patients undergoing IVF or ICSI cycles with transfer on day 2.
Culture of all fertilized embryos.
Number of fertilized embryos cleaving to the 2-cell stage on day 1, embryo quality, implantation rates, and pregnancy rates.
Patients with early-cleaving 2-cell embryos had significantly higher pregnancy and implantation rates (45 of 100 [45.0%] and 58 of 219 [25.5%], respectively) than did patients without early-cleaving 2-cell embryos (31 of 130 [23.8%] and 43 of 290 [14.8%], respectively). In weeks during which preselection was used, the overall pregnancy and implantation rates of the clinic improved.
The presence of early-cleaving 2-cell embryos improves a patient's chance of achieving pregnancy. Use of more stringent embryo selection criteria can improve overall pregnancy rates.
Fertility and Sterility 01/2002; 76(6):1150-6. · 4.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With an increase in the use of assisted reproduction technologies the requirements of the diagnostic semen analysis are constantly changing.
Spermatozoa from patients undergoing IVF were analysed by examining the conventional semen parameters and DNA/chromatin integrity, using in-situ nick translation (NT) and the Chromomycin A(3) fluorochrome, which indirectly demonstrates a decreased presence of protamine. Samples were examined before and after preparation using discontinuous density gradient centrifugation.
Density gradient centrifugation enriched samples by improving the percentage of morphologically normal forms by 138% and sperm nuclear integrity by 450%. Sperm nuclear integrity as assessed by in-situ nick translation (NT) demonstrated a very clear relationship with sperm concentration, motility and morphology. Morphology correlated with fertilization rates of patients undergoing IVF, while NT values of the spermatozoa post-preparation were significantly lower in pregnant patients.
We have demonstrated that along with the classical semen parameters, the assessment of nuclear integrity improves the characterization of the semen sample and may be used as a tool for allocating patients to specific assisted reproduction treatments.
Human Reproduction 11/2001; 16(10):2160-5. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of glucose fluctuates during preimplantation mouse embryo development, indicating that a specific interplay exists between glucose metabolism and uptake. In this study, attempts were made to characterize the role of the Na(+)-coupled active and the facilitated glucose transporters (GLUT) during preimplantation development by using specific glucose analogues and transport inhibitors and by examining the expression of GLUT1. One-cell outbred mouse embryos were cultured in medium M16 (5.5 mmol/l glucose), M16 without glucose (M16-G), M16-G + 2-deoxyglucose, M16-G + 3-O-methylglucose, M16 + phlorizin and M16 + phloretin and development to the blastocyst stage assessed. The absence of glucose, or the presence of 3-O-methylglucose, which is taken up but not metabolized, did not inhibit blastocyst development. 2-Deoxyglucose, which is phosphorylated but not metabolized, inhibited blastocyst development. Culture in M16 supplemented with phlorizin, an inhibitor of Na(+)-coupled active glucose transport did not inhibit blastocyst formation. Phloretin had no effect on the cleavage of two-cell embryos to the four-cell stage, but inhibited the morula/blastocyst transition. Both phloretin and phlorizin inhibited glucose uptake in two-cell embryos. Finally, GLUT1 expression was 10-fold less in blastocysts cultured in M16 compared to in-vivo blastocysts and those cultured in M16-G. The results show that both types of glucose transporters influence preimplantation embryo development and that the embryo has an innate ability to control the uptake of glucose by regulating the expression of GLUT1.
Human Reproduction 07/2001; 16(6):1229-36. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A key intracellular event during capacitation is protein tyrosine phosphorylation, but its involvement during sperm interaction with the oocyte has not been investigated. Glucose is necessary to achieve fertilization and thus may have an influence on sperm protein tyrosine phosphorylation. The objectives of this study were to 1) visualize protein tyrosine phosphorylation patterns in sperm during capacitation and interaction with the oocyte and 2) determine the influence of glucose. Protein tyrosine phosphorylation was investigated by Western analysis and immunofluorescence. Protein tyrosine phosphorylation was increased during capacitation, and immunofluorescence revealed that zona binding and gamete fusion were correlated with an increase in tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins in the midpiece. During capacitation, the absence of glucose led to a delay in the appearance of protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Following binding to the zona pellucida and the oolemma, tyrosine phosphorylation in the flagellum was also delayed in the absence of glucose and resulted in a significant inhibition of the midpiece phosphorylation. The correlation between successful gamete fusion and the tyrosine phosphorylation of midpiece proteins suggests that the effect of glucose on sperm-oocyte interaction is mediated through regulation of protein tyrosine phosphorylation in a specific area of the fertilizing sperm.
Biology of Reproduction 06/2001; 64(5):1350-7. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This preliminary study reports the results obtained from a patient group in which blastocyst culture and transfer were performed, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of introducing blastocyst transfer in a clinic. Twenty-six patients who had failed to achieve a pregnancy in previous in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatments were offered the choice of a fresh cycle with culture to the blastocyst stage. Of the 26 patients who elected to attempt blastocyst culture, 11 opted to have transfer on day 2 or day 3 due to low numbers of embryos. Of the 15 patients who proceeded to blastocyst culture, 46.2% of the embryos cultured reached the blastocyst stage or later and eight of the patients achieved a clinical pregnancy. More oocytes were collected in this patient group, hence the chances of obtaining blastocysts were higher. Offering blastocyst culture to patients with a reasonable chance of success who have had previous multiple assisted reproduction failures is an acceptable way of introducing blastocyst culture into practice.
Human Fertility 02/2001; 4(2):104-8. · 1.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The World Health Organization suggests that 'one-step' type disposable chambers lack the accuracy and precision of the haemocytometer method for assessing sperm concentration. The purpose of this particular study was to compare sperm concentration measurements and motility using the Neubauer((R)) haemocytometer with those obtained using three 'one-step' methods: the Microcell((R)) slide, Leja((R)) slide and a plain glass slide with a 22x22 mm coverslip. A total of 200 sperm concentration measurements and 100 motility assessments were performed on all chambers. Paired comparisons showed enormous discrepancies between the counts, particularly between the Neubauer((R)) and other chambers (P < 0.0001). This discrepancy was less pronounced in oligozoospermic samples, and samples with low (<30% progression) motility but more pronounced in normozoospermic samples and those with good motility (>50% progression). In addition, concentration assessments from a fresh undiluted and unfixed semen sample on the Microcell((R)) slide were found to be significantly lower than both fixed counts on the same slide (P = 0.011) and the initial laboratory reading on the Neubauer((R)) chamber (P = 0.009). No differences were observed in progressive motility between the different chambers and a plain glass slide. There appears to be little comparison between the haemocytometer and either re-useable or disposable one-step chambers. The unfortunate consequence of this is that diagnostic semen analysis and guidelines for allocation of patients to appropriate treatment groups will vary from centre to centre, depending on the method used and may, on occasion, be erroneous.
Human Reproduction 02/2001; 16(1):121-124. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A recent consultation documentation by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) which focused on the safe cryopreservation of gametes and embryos highlighted the need for a review of the way that fertility clinics in the UK store potentially infective material. The main points for consideration were to: (i) ensure containers used for cryopreservation are guaranteed by manufacturers to withstand low temperatures; (ii) use secondary containers, i.e. 'double bagging' of samples if stored in the liquid phase; and (iii) store in nitrogen vapour as a 'safer' alternative. In this article we examine a number of issues related to vapour storage which need careful consideration, including safety, cost and the effectiveness of various storage techniques in maintaining gamete and embryo viability. We also discuss the effectiveness of vapour storage in comparison with current liquid nitrogen storage techniques. In conclusion, we propose that fertility clinics should be compelled to review their cryopreservation procedures, not just because of new legislation or indeed fear of litigation but by a moral obligation.
Human Reproduction 01/2001; 15(12):2460-3. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study our aim was to characterise the presence and the role of DNA alterations during sperm decondensation in the mouse. To visualise the changes during decondensation we investigated for the presence of DNase I hypersensitive sites in situ and for a putative role for topoisomerase II by examining the effect of teniposide, a topoisomerase II inhibitor, during fertilisation. In situ nick translation without the previous addition of DNase I failed to reveal the presence of endogenous nicks in decondensing sperm and pronuclei whereas preincubation of fixed oocytes with DNase I indicated that decondensing sperm were sensitive to this enzyme. Addition of 100 microM teniposide did not completely inhibit pronuclei formation but its addition to the fertilisation medium did lead to the presence of endogenous DNA nicks in decondensing sperm. These observations suggest that DNase I hypersensitivity during sperm decondensation is related to the dramatic conformational changes that the chromatin undergoes during the decondensation process, in which topoisomerase II may be implicated.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human semen is heterogeneous in quality, not only between males but also within a single ejaculate. Differences in quality are evident, both when examining the classical parameters of sperm number, motility and morphology and in the integrity of the sperm nucleus. The aim of this study was to determine the efficiency of the PureSperm((R)), Percoll((R)) and swim-up preparation techniques to eliminate spermatozoa with nuclear anomalies. Semen samples were collected, washed and one part of the semen spread on a slide, the remainder was prepared using the swim-up, PureSperm((R)) or Percoll((R)) techniques. Spermatozoa from different fractions were fixed on slides and assessed. Sperm samples (n) from different men were stained using the chromomycin A(3) (CMA(3)) fluorochrome, which indirectly demonstrates a decreased presence of protamine (n = 31 for swim-up; n = 45 for PureSperm((R)); n = 39 for Percoll((R))). Spermatozoa prepared using PureSperm((R)) (n = 35) and Percoll((R)) (n = 37) were also examined for the presence of endogenous DNA nicks. Good quality spermatozoa should not possess DNA nicks and not stain (i.e. fluoresce) with CMA(3). When prepared using the swim-up technique the spermatozoa recovered showed no significant improvement with the CMA(3) staining. When spermatozoa were prepared using the PureSperm((R)) and Percoll((R)) techniques, a significant (P < 0.001) decrease in both CMA(3) positivity and DNA strand breakage was observed. These results indicate that both the PureSperm((R)) and Percoll((R)) techniques can enrich the sperm population by separating out those with nicked DNA and with poorly condensed chromatin.
Human Reproduction 06/2000; 15(5):1112-6. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The predictive values of four categories of established sperm function assays--computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA), induced-acrosome reaction testing, sperm penetration assay, and sperm-zona pellucida binding assays--are still unsure. In this article we examine the evaluation of sperm competence. We propose that assessment of sperm competence should include investigations at the nuclear, organelle, and cytoskeletal levels. In light of this, we discuss the assessment of sperm nuclear integrity as an alternative new method of analysis. We also question the merit of having such tests, whereby it may be an easier choice to direct these patients straight to an assisted reproduction treatment.
Seminars in Reproductive Medicine 02/2000; 18(2):133-9. · 3.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paternal mitochondrial DNA is normally eliminated from mammalian embryos. We have shown the presence of paternal mtDNA at the blastocyst stage in some abnormal human embryos.
The Lancet 02/2000; 355(9199):200. · 39.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The life cycle of many cell types can hinge on the presence of death factors that can control programmed cell death. The Fas-mediated apoptotic pathway has been implicated in controlling apoptosis during spermatogenesis in a number of mammalian species. In the human, the presence of nuclear DNA damage in ejaculated spermatozoa has pointed to a possible role for apoptosis during spermatogenesis. The presence of other molecular markers of apoptosis has, however, not been shown. More importantly, differences in these markers have not been investigated in men with normal and abnormal sperm parameters. In this study we examine for the presence of the cell surface protein Fas in ejaculated human spermatozoa. Ejaculated spermatozoa (55 samples) were labeled with anti-human Fas antibody and the number of spermatozoa displaying Fas were counted using a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS). In 30/31 (96.8%) normal males (>20 million sperm per milliliter), less than 10% of the spermatozoa were Fas positive. In contrast, 14/24 (58.3%) oligozoospermic samples (<20 million sperm per milliliter) contained more than 10% Fas-positive spermatozoa. Similar differences were observed in men whose spermatozoa had poor motility and morphology. These results indicate that apoptosis is a major mechanism in regulating spermatogenesis in the human and that there are clear differences in molecular markers of apoptosis between males with normal and abnormal sperm parameters. We propose that the presence of Fas-labeled spermatozoa in the ejaculate of these men is indicative of an "abortive apoptosis" having taken place, whereby the normal apoptotic mechanisms have misfunctioned, have been overridden, or have not been completed.
Experimental Cell Research 09/1999; 251(2):350-5. · 3.56 Impact Factor