Astaxanthin Improves Human Sperm Capacitation by Inducing Lyn Displacement and Activation

In the study “Astaxanthin Improves Human Sperm Capacitation by Inducing Lyn Displacement and Activation,” authors Alessandra Andrisani, Gabriella Donà, Elena Tibaldi, Anna Maria Brunati, Chiara Sabbadin, Decio Armanini, Gualtiero Alvisi, Salvatore Gizzo, Guido Ambrosini, Eugenio Ragazzi, and Luciana Bordin evaluate the effects of Asta on isolated human sperm. Capacitation involves a series of transformations to let sperm acquire the correct features for potential oocyte fertilization, including the generation of a controlled amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS), cholesterol depletion of the sperm outer membrane, and protein tyrosine phosphorylation (Tyr-P) process in the head region. Volunteers, with normal spermiogram values, were divided in two separate groups on the basis of their ability to generate the correct content of endogenous ROS. Both patient group (PG) and control group (CG) were analysed for Tyr-phosphorylation (Tyr-P) pattern and percentages of acrosome-reacted cells (ARC) and non-viable cells (NVC), in the presence or absence of Asta. In addition, the involvement of ROS on membrane reorganization and the presence of Lyn, a Src family kinase associated with lipid rafts, were investigated. Results show that Lyn is present in the membranes of human sperm, mainly confined in midpiece in resting conditions. Following capacitation, Lyn translocated to the head concomitantly with raft relocation, thus allowing the Tyr-P of head proteins. Asta succeeded to trigger Lyn translocation in PG sperm thus bypassing the impaired ROS-related mechanism for rafts and Lyn translocation. In this study, we showed an interdependence between ROS generation and lipid rafts and Lyn relocation leading the cells to undergo the successive acrosome reaction (AR). Asta, by ameliorating PG sperm functioning, may be utilised to decrease male idiopathic infertility.

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