Reactive oxygen species as mediators of sperm capacitation and pathological damage.
Mol Reprod Dev. 2017 Jul 27;:
Authors: Aitken RJ
Oxidative stress plays a major role in the life and death of mammalian spermatozoa. These gametes are professional generators of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which appear to derive from three potential sources: sperm mitochondria, cytosolic L-amino acid oxidases, and plasma membrane nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidases. The oxidative stress created via these sources appears to play a significant role in driving the physiological changes associated with sperm capacitation through the stimulation of a cyclic adenosine monophosphate/Protein kinase A phosphorylation cascade, including the activation of Extracellular signal regulated kinase-like proteins, massive up-regulation of tyrosine phosphorylation in the sperm tail, as well as the induction of sterol oxidation. When generated in excess, however, ROS can induce lipid peroxidation that, in turn, disrupts membrane characteristics that are critical for the maintenance of sperm function, including the capacity to fertilize an egg. Furthermore, the lipid aldehydes generated as a consequence of lipid peroxidation bind to proteins in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, triggering yet more ROS generation in a self-perpetuating cycle. The high levels of oxidative stress created as a result of this process ultimately damage the DNA in the sperm nucleus; indeed, DNA damage in the male germ line appears to be predominantly induced oxidatively, reflecting the vulnerability of these cells to such stress. Extensive evaluation of antioxidants that protect the spermatozoa against oxidative stress while permitting the normal reduction-oxidation regulation of sperm capacitation is therefore currently being undertaken, and has already proven efficacious in animal models. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 28749007 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]