Lipid and antioxidant changes in spermatozoa and seminal plasma throughout the reproductive period of bulls

in Reproduction

The lipid compositions and associated antioxidant capacities of spermatozoa and seminal plasma from bulls were examined at the beginning, middle and end of their reproductive period. The reduction in concentration and motility of spermatozoa associated with ageing was accompanied by a large decrease in lipid concentrations within the seminal plasma; this change in lipid concentration was accompanied by an increase in the proportion of phospholipid. By contrast, the proportion of phospholipids in the spermatozoa was significantly reduced. The major phospholipid fractions within both the spermatozoa and seminal plasma were phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl ethanolamine. With increasing age there was a large decrease in the proportion of phosphatidyl ethanolamine and a commensurate increase in that of phosphatidyl choline within the spermatozoa and seminal plasma. These major changes in phospholipids were accompanied by a decrease in the amount of phosphatidyl inositol and an increase in that of cardiolipin in both spermatozoa and seminal plasma. The reductions in the proportions of phosphatidyl ethanolamine were accompanied by extensive reductions in the content of the major polyunsaturated fatty acids, arachidonic 20:4 (n-6) and docosahexaenoic 22:6 (n-3); there was a decrease also in the concentration of 22:6 (n-3) in phosphatidyl choline. The changes in lipid composition owing to ageing were associated with a marked reduction within the seminal plasma of the major antioxidant enzyme systems, glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase.


An official journal of

Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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