Effects of combined antioxidant supplementation on human sperm motility and morphology during sperm manipulation in vitro

Capsule:
Combined treatment with taurine, cysteine, and glutathione improves the quality of human sperm by decreasing the rate of reduction in sperm motility during in vitro manipulation.

Authors:
Jung Im Yun, Ph.D., Seung Pyo Gong, Ph.D., Young Han Song, Ph.D., Seung Tae Lee, Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 2, Pages 373-378, August 2013

Abstract:

Objective:
To evaluate the effect of antioxidant combinations on human sperm motility and morphologic normality during preparation and in vitro incubation to improve sperm quality for assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Design:
Prospective study.
Setting:
Laboratory.

Patient(s):
Six fertile males, 21 to 25 years of age, after 3 days of sexual abstinence.

Intervention(s):
Sperm retrieved from patients with normal fertility prepared and incubated in vitro in medium supplemented with taurine, cysteine, and/or glutathione.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Motility indices, including motility (MOT), average path velocity (VAP), curvilinear velocity (VCL), straight-line velocity (VSL), and morphologic normality.

Result(s):
Taurine supplementation during sperm preparation had no significant effects on motility or morphologic normality. However, when sperm was incubated for 24 hours under taurine-supplemented conditions, the rates of reduction in MOT, VAP, VCL, and VSL were statistically significantly decreased compared with taurine-free conditions. Morphologic normality was maintained, regardless of taurine treatment. The optimal taurine concentration for improving sperm motility and morphologic normality during preparation and in vitro incubation was 1 mM. Subsequently, combined treatment with 1 mM taurine, 1 mM cysteine, and 1 mM glutathione induced statistically significant synergistic effects on MOT, VAP, VCL, and VSL without any alteration of morphologic normality.

Conclusion(s):
Combined treatment with taurine, cysteine, and glutathione statistically significantly ameliorated the reduction in sperm motility during in vitro manipulation of human sperm.

  • Michael Eisenberg

    While in vitro sperm motility improves, the next logical study would be to determine the impact, if any, on in vitro fertilization outcomes.

  • In this article, motility is preserved in vitro during incubation with taurine, cysteine, and glutathione. Will be interesting to see what other antioxidants are also protective of sperm motility.

    Out of curiosity, does sperm morphology change that much from the time of ejaculation to the time of IVF? And are there products that can protect against that? It would seem that morphology is essentially “fixed” once the sperm is produced in the seminiferous tubules.

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