Energy metabolism and intracellular pH in boar spermatozoa

in Reproduction

The effect of energy metabolism on intracellular pH was studied in boar spermatozoa using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and confocal microscopy with the pH-sensitive dye seminaphthorhodafluor (SNARF-1). Freshly ejaculated spermatozoa had a high adenylate energy charge (AEC=0.8), which decreased to 0.6 under aerobic conditions and to 0.2 under anaerobic conditions. Correspondingly, no ATP resonances but high AMP resonance were visible in (31)P-NMR-spectra of the spermatozoa. When an artificial oxygen buffer (Fluosol) and a purpose-built air supply system were used during (31)P-NMR data acquisition, ATP resonances reappeared whereas the AMP resonance disappeared. Boar spermatozoa kept under aerobic conditions have intracellular compartments that differ markedly in pH, as demonstrated by both (31)P-NMR spectroscopy and confocal microscopy. Using confocal microscopy, the midpiece of the flagellum in which all mitochondria are located was identified as an acidic compartment (pH(i-mp) 6.7). The intracellular pH of both the head (pH(i-h)) and the long principal piece of the flagellum (pH(i-pp)) were 7.2 and, thus, only slightly below the extracellular pH (pH(e) 7.3). Storage of spermatozoa in a glucose-free medium at 15 degrees C when they are immotile slowly shifted the pH(i-mp) from 6.7 to 6.9 within 20 h, whereas pH(i-h) and pH(i-pp) remained unchanged (pH 7.1-7.2). When glucose was present in the medium, all visible compartments of the spermatozoa as well as the medium were acidified to pH 6.2 within 20 h. Under these conditions a resonance at 4.8 mg kg(-1) appeared representing glycerol 3-phosphate.

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    Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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