In vitro approach points to a chemotactic effect of melatonin on ram spermatozoa
Resumen: Sperm orientation mechanisms, such as chemotaxis, are essential for the sperm to reach the oocyte and fertilize it. Melatonin is secreted by the cumulus cells and is also present in the follicular fluid in mammals. The presence of membrane receptors for melatonin in ram spermatozoa, and its proven involvement in the sperm functionality, may suggest a possible role in the guided movement towards the oocyte. Hence, the objective of the present work is to study the in vitro potential chemotactic action of melatonin on ram spermatozoa, analysing the influence of the season (breeding and non-breeding) and the sperm capacitation state. The first experimental approach consisted in the inclusion of melatonin in the upper layer of a swim-up selection method. During the non-breeding season, the presence of melatonin at 100 pM and 1 μM concentrations significantly increased the cell recovery rate, and induced changes in the sperm location of the MT2 melatonin receptor, compared with the standard swim-up. Moreover, the selected sperm population with 100 pM melatonin presented a higher percentage of capacitated spermatozoa. The greater recovery rate obtained with melatonin could be due to the stimulation of sperm movement in random directions, i.e., a chemokinetic effect, or due to a guided movement (chemotaxis) towards the gradient of the melatonin. To elucidate this issue, together with the study of the influence of the sperm capacitation status, we performed a second experimental approach which consisted in the use of chemotaxis chambers and an open-source software (Open-CASA) that analyses the sperm trajectories towards the hormone gradient and calculates a chemotaxis index (SL index). There was a significant difference between the SL index in the presence of 1 μM melatonin and the control without hormone. This effect was only observed in capacitated spermatozoa with cAMP-elevating agents (Cap-CK samples) obtained during the non-breeding season. These results would point to an in vitro chemotactic effect of melatonin on ram spermatozoa, although chemokinesis cannot be ruled out. Nonetheless, the inclusion of this hormone in the swim-up procedure could enhance the sperm recovery rate.
Idioma: Inglés
DOI: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2022.12.022
Año: 2023
Publicado en: THERIOGENOLOGY 198 (2023), 36-46
ISSN: 0093-691X

Financiación: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/ES/DGA/A07-20R
Financiación: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/ES/MINECO/AGL2017-83799-R
Tipo y forma: Article (Published version)
Área (Departamento): Área Zoología (Dpto. Bioq.Biolog.Mol. Celular)

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