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Sperm oxidative stress is detrimental to embryo development: A dose-dependent study model and a new and more sensitive oxidative status evaluation


Oxidative status may influence spermatozoa by distinct mechanisms, from capacitation to oocyte fertilization. However, reactive oxygen species (ROS) could be beneficial or harmful depending on cellular context. Due to the low levels of antioxidant enzymes of cryopreserved semen, associated to successive manipulations prior to in vitro fertilization (IVF), it is momentous to understand the mechanism involved on sperm status in such conditions and the further impact on embryo development. The present study aimed to assess the possible impact of a dose-dependent model for sperm oxidative stress on embryo development. In experiment 1, straws from five Nelore bulls were subjected to a 1 hour incubation at 38,5 oC and 5% CO2, with increase doses of hydrogen peroxide (0; 12,5; 25; e 50 µM). At the end of incubation period, motility parameters were evaluated by Computed Assisted System Analysis (CASA). Based on the results of the experiment 1, experiment 2 was designed to study a high (50 µM) and a low (12,5 µM) dose of hydrogen peroxide and also a control (0 µM). Sperm samples were incubated with each dose for 1 hour and subsequently used for in vitro fertilization (D=0). Samples were analyzed by CASA, oxidative status (CellROX® green and 2'-7' diclorofluorescein diacetate - DCFH), mitochondrial potential (JC-1), chromatin (LA) and sperm capacitation status (chlortetraciclin). Embryos were evaluated based on fast cleavage rate (30 hours pos-insemination), cleavage rate (D=3), development rate (D=5) and blastocyst rate (D=8). Statistical analysis was performed by polynomial regression model, considering significant a pd0,05. A dose-dependent deleterious effect of hydrogen peroxide was observed on most motility variables evaluated by CASA, including the percentage of motile cells. Similarly, a dose-dependent increase was observed on the percentages of positive cells for CellROX®, capacitated sperm and also for LA. A decrease on the percentage of cleaved embryos and blastocyst was observed as hydrogen peroxide increased. Interestingly, a blockage was detected during the 2-4 cell stage. In these conditions when exposed to oxidative environment, sperm may present disabled motility characteristics, oxidative status and premature capacitation and such abnormalities result on impaired embryo development, from the first cleavage to blastocyst. (AU)

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