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


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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Available from: Ralf Henkel, Sep 04, 2015
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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 . "

    Full-text · Article · Nov 2005 · Journal of Andrology
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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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    ABSTRACT: The function of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in sperm maturation was studied by investigating its role in the biochemical maturation of the outer dense fibres. Rat sperm obtained from the caput and cauda epididymis were stimulated overnight with either recombinant MIF or MIF-containing vesicles originating from epididymal fluid at various concentrations. The zinc content of both the sperm and the medium was determined by means of atomic absorption spectrometry. Incubation in both recombinant MIF and vesicular MIF resulted in a statistically significant decrease of the zinc content in stimulated caput sperm of approximately 50%. In parallel, the conditioned media showed a clear increase in the concentration of this trace metal. The effect of MIF was less marked in cauda sperm. In addition, we demonstrated a statistically significant increase of detectable free thiol groups in the sperm mid- and principle piece in isolated rat sperm after stimulation with MIF at concentrations of 25 and 50 ng/ml. Our data suggest that MIF plays an important role in the maturation process of rat sperm during epididymal transit by inducing the elimination of zinc and affecting the amount of free sulphydryl groups in the sperm flagella.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2004 · Molecular Human Reproduction
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