Microsequencing after two-dimensional electrophoresis revealed a major protein, glutathione-independent prostaglandin D2 synthase (PGDS) in the anterior epididymal region fluid of the ram and stallion. In this epididymal region, PGDS was a polymorphic compound with a molecular mass around 30 kDa and a range of pI from 4 to 7. PGDS represented 15% and 8% of the total luminal proteins present in this region in the ram and stallion, respectively. The secretion of the protein as judged by in vitro biosynthesis, and the presence of its mRNA as studied by Northern blot analysis, were limited to the proximal caput epididymidis. Using a specific polyclonal antibody raised against a synthetic peptide, PGDS was found throughout the epididymis, decreasing in concentration toward the cauda region. PGDS was also detected in the testicular fluid and seminal plasma by Western blotting. Castration and efferent duct ligation in the ram led to a decrease in PGDS mRNA and secretion. PGDS mRNA was not detected in the stallion 1 mo after castration, and it was restored by testosterone supplementation. This study showed that PGDS is present in the environment of spermatozoa throughout the male genital tract. Its function in the maturation and/or protection of spermatozoa is unknown. (+info)
(2/2200) Characterisation of the conformational and quaternary structure-dependent heparin-binding region of bovine seminal plasma protein PDC-109.
PDC-109, the major heparin-binding protein of bull seminal plasma, binds to sperm choline lipids at ejaculation and modulates capacitation mediated by heparin. Affinity chromatography on heparin-Sepharose showed that polydisperse, but not monomeric, PDC-109 displayed heparin-binding capability. We sought to characterise the surface topology of the quaternary structure-dependent heparin-binding region of PDC-109 by comparing the arginine- and lysine-selective chemical modification patterns of the free and the heparin-bound protein. A combination of reversed-phase peptide mapping of endoproteinase Lys-C-digested PDC-109 derivatives and mass spectrometry was employed to identify modified and heparin-protected residues. PDC-109 contains two tandemly arranged fibronectin type II domains (a, Cys24-Cys61; b, Cys69-Cys109). The results show that six basic residues (Lys34, Arg57, Lys59, Arg64, Lys68, and Arg104) were shielded from reaction with acetic anhydride and 1,2-cyclohexanedione in heparin-bound PDC-109 oligomers. In the 1H-NMR solution structures of single fibronectin type II domains, residues topologically equivalent to PDC-109 Arg57 (Arg104) and Lys59 lay around beta-strand D on the same face of the domain. In full-length PDC-109, Arg64 and Lys68 are both located in the intervening polypeptide between domains a and b. Our data suggest possible quaternary structure arrangements of PDC-109 molecules to form a heparin-binding oligomer. (+info)
(3/2200) Occurrence of prostasome-like membrane vesicles in equine seminal plasma.
Equine seminal plasma was shown to contain membrane vesicles that are similar to the well characterized prostasomes in human seminal plasma. Determination of nucleoside and nucleotide concentrations of these particles have shown that ATP, ADP and adenosine are the main components of the nucleotidic pool. 5' nucleotidase, endopeptidase and dipeptidyl peptidase i.v. activities have been found on the surface of the particles. The interaction between these prostasome-like vesicles and spermatozoa was demonstrated by electron micrograph scans which revealed the steps of a fusion-like process leading to mixing of the membranes. In addition, endopeptidase activity, a marker enzyme of these seminal vesicles that is normally absent from equine spermatozoa, was shown to be acquired by these cells after interaction with the vesicles. The addition of these vesicles to equine spermatozoa resulted in the modification of adenylate catabolism. Therefore, a role in stabilizing the energy charge of the spermatozoa thus allowing longer viability is proposed for these organelles. (+info)
(4/2200) Semen quality and reproductive hormones before orchiectomy in men with testicular cancer.
PURPOSE: To obtain information about preorchiectomy gonadal function in patients with testicular germ cell cancer to improve the clinical management of fertility and other andrologic aspects in these men. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In group 1, a group of 83 consecutive patients with testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC) investigated before orchiectomy, semen analysis was carried out in 63 patients and hormonal investigations, including measurement of follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, estradiol, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), inhibin B, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), in 71 patients. Hormone levels in patients with elevated hCG (n = 41) were analyzed separately. To discriminate between general cancer effects and specific effects associated with TGCC, the same analyses were carried out in a group of 45 consecutive male patients with malignant lymphoma (group 2). Group 3 comprised 141 men employed in a Danish company who served as controls in the comparison of semen parameters. As a control group in hormone investigations, 193 men were selected randomly from the Danish National Personal Register to make up group 4. RESULTS: We found significantly lower sperm concentration (median, 15 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0 to 128 x 10(6)/mL) and total sperm count (median, 29 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0 to 589 x 10(6)) in patients with testicular cancer than in patients with malignant lymphomas (sperm concentration: median, 48 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0.04 to 250 x 10(6)/mL; sperm count: median, 146 x 10(6); range, 0.05 to 418 x 10(6)) (P < .001 and P < .001) and healthy men (sperm concentration: median, 48 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0 to 402 x 10(6)/mL; sperm count: median, 162 x 10(6); range, 0 to 1253 x 10(6)) (P < .001 and P < .001). FSH levels were increased in men with testicular cancer (median, 5.7 IU/L; range, 2.0 to 27 IU/L) compared with both men with malignant lymphomas (median, 3.3 IU/L; range, 1.01 to 12.0 IU/L) and healthy controls (median, 4.1 IU/L; range, 1.04 to 21 IU/L)(P = .001 and P = .007, respectively). Surprisingly, we found significantly lower LH in the group of men with TGCC (median, 3.6 IU/L; range, 1.12 to 11.9 IU/L) than in healthy men (median, 4.7 IU/L; range, 1.3 to 11.9 IU/L) (P = .01). We could not detect any differences between men with testicular cancer and men with malignant lymphomas and healthy men with regard to serum levels of testosterone, SHBG, and estradiol. Men with testicular cancer who had increased hCG levels had significantly lower LH and significantly higher testosterone and estradiol than those without detectable hCG levels. CONCLUSION: Spermatogenesis is already impaired in men with testicular cancer before orchiectomy. Neither local suppression of spermatogenesis by tumor pressure nor a general cancer effect seems to fully explain this impairment. The most likely explanation is preexisting impairment of spermatogenesis in the contralateral testis in men with testicular cancer. The question of whether also a pre-existing Leydig cell dysfunction is present in men with testicular cancer could not be answered in this study because the tumor seems to have a direct effect on the Leydig cells. Men with testicular cancer had low LH values as compared with controls. We speculate that increased intratesticular level of hCG also in men without measurable serum hCG may play a role by exerting LH-like effects on the Leydig cells, causing increased testosterone and estrogen levels and low LH values in the blood. (+info)
(5/2200) Is intracytoplasmic sperm injection necessary for couples undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer with normal semen analyses but failing hamster egg penetration assays?
PURPOSE: Our purpose was to assess whether in vitro fertilization (IVF)-embryo transfer (ET) candidate couples with basically normal semen analyses but failing zona-free hamster egg penetration assay (HEPA) scores benefit from intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). METHODS: Twenty consecutive IVF candidate couples with normal-borderline semen analyses and failing HEPA scores were recruited. Mature oocytes obtained from each woman were randomly divided between ICSI (group I; n = 126 oocytes) and standard insemination techniques (group II; 138 oocytes). Fertilization (two pronuclei) and cleavage (2-4 cells) rates were assessed for both groups. RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups with respect to (mean +/- standard error of the mean) fertilization (group I, 63.1 +/- 7.75; group II, 77.8 +/- 4.7%) or cleavage (group I, 87.3 +/- 2.4%; group II, 91.2 +/- 3.5%) rates. CONCLUSIONS: ICSI is not beneficial for IVF-ET when sperm samples demonstrate a failing HEPA score but have normal or minimally compromised semen analysis parameters. (+info)
(6/2200) Purification of a 76-kDa iron-binding protein from human seminal plasma by affinity chromatography specific for ribonuclease: structural and functional identity with milk lactoferrin.
A pink-colored iron-binding protein has been found in large amount in human seminal plasma and identified as a lactoferrin isoform. Its purification, by a modification of a three-step chromatography procedure developed in an attempt to purify a ribonuclease from the same fluid, provided about 15-18 mg of pure protein from 100 ml of seminal plasma. Despite its ability to bind a ribonuclease ligand during the affinity step, the iron-binding protein did not display any detectable RNase activity in a standard assay with yeast RNA as substrate. It showed an apparent molecular weight of 76 kDa and resulted to be quite similar, if not identical, to human milk lactoferrin in many respects. Its N-terminal sequence (31 amino acid residues) starting with Arg-3 was identical to that of one of the N-terminally truncated lactoferrin variants isolated from human milk. Moreover, the amino acid sequence of a number of peptides, which represented about 23% of the entire sequence, has been also shown to be identical to that of the corresponding peptides of human milk lactoferrin. Double diffusion analysis revealed full recognition by antibodies anti-human milk lactoferrin of the human seminal plasma protein. Using immunoblotting analysis, both human milk lactoferrin and human seminal protein were recognized by antibodies anti-milk lactoferrin. When tested for its iron binding capacity, with Fe-NTA as iron donor, the protein purified was able to bind iron up to 100% saturation, as judged by absorbance at 465 nm. (+info)
(7/2200) A 105- to 94-kilodalton protein in the epididymal fluids of domestic mammals is angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE); evidence that sperm are the source of this ACE.
SDS-PAGE analysis of luminal fluid from the ram testis and epididymis revealed a protein of about 105 kDa in the fluid in the caput epididymal region. The molecular mass of this fluid protein shifted from 105 kDa to 94 kDa in the distal caput epididymidis and remained at 94 kDa in the lower regions of the epididymis. The possible sperm origin of this protein was suggested by the decrease in intensity of a 105-kDa compound on the sperm plasma membrane extract and by its total disappearance from the fluid of animals with impaired sperm production caused by scrotal heating. The 94-kDa protein was purified from ram cauda epididymal fluid, and a rabbit polyclonal antiserum was obtained. This antiserum showed that membranes of testicular sperm and sperm from the initial caput were positive for the presence of an immunologically related antigen. The protein was immunolocalized mainly on the flagellar intermediate piece, whereas in some corpus and caudal sperm, only the apical ridge of the acrosomal vesicle was labeled. The purified protein was microsequenced: its N-terminal was not found in the sequence database, but its tryptic fragments matched the sequence of the angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE). Indeed, the purified 94-kDa protein exhibited a carboxypeptidase activity inhibited by specific blockers of ACE. All the soluble seminal plasma ACE activity in the ram was attributable to the 94-kDa epididymal fluid ACE. The polyclonal antiserum also showed that a soluble form of ACE appeared specifically in the caput epididymal fluid of the boar, stallion, and bull. This soluble form was responsible for all the ACE activity observed in the fluid from the distal caput to the cauda epididymidis in these species. Our results strongly suggest that the epididymal fluid ACE derives from the germinal form of ACE that is liberated from the testicular sperm in a specific epididymal area. (+info)
(8/2200) Seminal tract infections: impact on male fertility and treatment options.
Bacterial and viral infections of the genital tract may be important aetiological factors for male infertility. Infectious processes may lead to deterioration of spermatogenesis, impairment of sperm function and/or obstruction of the seminal tract. Detection of bacteria in semen does not necessarily signify infection since bacteriospermia may represent contamination, colonization or infection. Reported prevalence of Ureaplasma urealyticum in human semen varies from 10 to 40%. Enterobacteria can even be found in up to 90% of semen samples depending on the sensitivity of detection methods used. Chlamydia trachomatis is the most frequent sexually transmitted bacterial organism in industrialized countries. It is suggested that its main influence is due to sexual transmission resulting in tubal disease and subsequent infertility in the female partner rather than a direct influence on male reproductive functions. The effect of leukocytospermia on male fertility is controversial. This is probably due to different detection methods, different populations studied and to the fact that leukocyte subtypes in semen may have different functions. In addition to potentially negative effects, leukocytes may even have protective effects on spermatozoa. Only recently have amplification methods been established to detect viruses in semen with high sensitivity and specificity. It is unclear if these infections significantly contribute to male infertility. (+info)