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A. POULOS and I. G. WHITE

Summary.

The phospholipid composition of human spermatozoa and seminal plasma was examined by quantitative two-dimensional thinlayer chromatography, followed by phosphorus analysis. Sperm phospholipid comprised 28·8% phosphatidyl choline, 21·6% phosphatidyl ethanolamine, 21·4% sphingomyelin, 9·4% ethanolamine plasmalogen, 4·7% phosphatidyl serine, 2·7% choline plasmalogen, 1·9% phosphatidyl inositol and 1·6% cardiolipin.

Seminal plasma phospholipids comprised 44·0% sphingomyelin, 12·3% ethanolamine plasmalogen, 11·2% phosphatidyl serine, 8·5% phosphatidyl ethanolamine, 7·8% phosphatidyl choline, 0·8% choline plasmalogen, 0·8% cardiolipin and 1·7% phosphatidyl inositol.

Prolonged aerobic incubation of human spermatozoa in the presence or absence of glucose produced no significant alteration either in the amount of phospholipid phosphorus extracted or in the phospholipid composition of this extracted material.

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ANNABELLE DARIN-BENNETT, A. POULOS and I. G. WHITE

Lardy & Phillips (1941a,b) postulated that the endogenous phospholipids are used as a source of oxidizable energy by bull spermatozoa in the absence of sugar. Their results were not confirmed by the later work of Bomstein & Steberl (1957) with bull spermatozoa, or by Poulos & White (1973) with human spermatozoa. Hartree & Mann (1959, 1961) examined the effect of aerobic and anaerobic incubation of washed ram spermatozoa on the utilization of endogenous phospholipids and their results, though different from those of Lardy & Phillips (1941a,b), supported the latter's original hypothesis. Scott & Dawson (1968) briefly examined the effect of incubation on the phospholipids of washed ram spermatozoa and did not detect the same degree of plasmalogen loss as did Hartree & Mann (1961). The latter authors also found that incubation resulted in the release

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ANNABELLE DARIN-BENNETT, A. POULOS and I. G. WHITE

Department of Veterinary Physiology, University of Sydney, N.S. W. 2006, Australia

(Received 3rd May 1974)

Recent work has established the composition of phospholipids and phospholipid-bound fatty acid esters and aldehydes in ram, bull, boar, human and rabbit spermatozoa (Scott, Voglmayr & Setchell, 1967; Pursel & Graham, 1967; Neill & Masters, 1972, 1973; Johnson, Pursel & Gerrits, 1972; Poulos & White, 1973; Poulos, Darin-Bennett & White, 1973; Darin-Bennett, Poulos & White, 1973b). These data led Poulos, Darin-Bennett & White (1973) to suggest that the spermatozoa of these species could be allocated to two groups on the basis of the ratio of the phospholipid-bound polyunsaturated:saturated fatty acids, which could be correlated with sensitivity to cold-shock. Thus, the ratio for the spermatozoa of ram, bull and boar, which are known to be very susceptible to cold-shock, is approximately three times the ratio found for the less sensitive spermatozoa of the rabbit and human