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R Malivindi, M Santoro, D De Rose, S Panza, S Gervasi, V Rago and S Aquila

The farnesoid X receptor alpha (FXR) is a bile acid sensor activated by binding to endogenous bile acids including chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA). Although, FXR is expressed in male reproductive tissue, the relevance of the receptor on reproduction is scarcely known. Here, we demonstrated the FXR presence and its action on several human sperm features. Western blot and immunofluorescence assays evidenced the FXR expression in human spermatozoa and the localisation in the middle piece. CDCA increasing concentrations and GW4064, synthetic ligand of FXR, were used to study the FXR influence on sperm motility, survival, capacitation, acrosome reaction and on glucose as well as lipid metabolism. Interestingly, our data showed that increasing concentrations of CDCA negatively affected sperm parameters, while the receptor blockage by (Z)-Guggulsterone and by the anti-FXR Ab reversed the effects. Intriguingly, elevated CDCA levels increased triglyceride content, while lipase and G6PDH activities were reduced with respect to untreated samples, thus impeding the metabolic reprogramming typical of the capacitated sperm. In conclusion, in this study, we demonstrated for the first time a novel target for FXR and that the activated receptor alters the acquisition of sperm fertilising ability. We showed that sperm itself express the FXR and it is responsive to specific ligands of the receptor; therefore, bile acids influence this cell both in male and in female genital tracts. It might be hypothesized that bile acid levels could be involved in infertility with idiopathic origin as these compounds are not systematically measured in men undergoing medically assisted procreation.

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Thais Rose dos Santos Hamilton, Letícia Signori de Castro, Juliana de Carvalho Delgado, Patrícia Monken de Assis, Adriano Felipe Perez Siqueira, Camilla Mota Mendes, Marcelo Demarchi Goissis, Teresa Muiño-Blanco, José Álvaro Cebrián-Pérez, Marcílio Nichi, José Antonio Visintin and Mayra Elena Ortiz D'Ávila Assumpção

Action of reactive oxygen species, protamination failures and apoptosis are considered the most important etiologies of sperm DNA fragmentation. This study evaluated the effects of induced lipid peroxidation susceptibility on native semen profile and identified the mechanisms involved in sperm DNA fragmentation and testicular antioxidant defense on Santa Ines ram sperm samples. Semen was collected from 12 adult rams (Ovis aries) performed weekly over a 9-week period. Sperm analysis (motility, mass motility, abnormalities, membrane and acrosome status, mitochondrial potential, DNA fragmentation, lipid peroxidation and intracellular free radicals production); protamine deficiency; PRM1, TNP1 and TNP2 gene expression; and determination of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase, catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase activity and immunodetection in seminal plasma were performed. Samples were distributed into four groups according to the sperm susceptibility to lipid peroxidation after induction with ascorbate and ferrous sulfate (low, medium, high and very high). The results were analyzed by GLM test and post hoc least significant difference. We observed an increase in native GPx activity and CAT immunodetection in groups with high susceptibility to induced lipid peroxidation. We also found an increase in total sperm defects, acrosome and membrane damages in the group with the highest susceptibility to induced lipid peroxidation. Additionally, the low mitochondrial membrane potential, susceptible to chromatin fragmentation and the PRM1 mRNA were increased in the group showing higher susceptibility to lipid peroxidation. Ram sperm susceptibility to lipid peroxidation may compromise sperm quality and interfere with the oxidative homeostasis by oxidative stress, which may be the main cause of chromatin damage in ram sperm.