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J Androl. 1992 Jul-Aug;13(4):342-8.

Thiol-disulfide status and acridine orange fluorescence of mammalian sperm nuclei.

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1
Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology, University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Honolulu 96822.

Abstract

The relationship between thiol-disulfide status and acridine orange fluorescence of testicular, epididymal, and ejaculated spermatozoa in several mammalian species was investigated. Spermatozoa were fixed with acetic alcohol, stained with acridine orange, and examined with a fluorescence microscope. The majority of the nuclei of testicular spermatozoa of the hamster, mouse, and rabbit exhibited red acridine orange fluorescence. The proportion of sperm nuclei with red acridine orange fluorescence decreased as the spermatozoa descended the epididymis. Red acridine orange fluorescence was replaced by green acridine orange fluorescence. The site in the epididymis where 100% of the nuclei exhibited green fluorescence was the distal caput in the mouse, the corpus in the rabbit, and the proximal cauda in the hamster. In semen samples from men with proven fertility, normal semen parameters, or both, about 60% to 90% of the nuclei exhibited green acridine orange fluorescence. The proportion of sperm nuclei exhibiting green acridine orange fluorescence was higher in the spermatozoa pellet (containing highly motile spermatozoa) obtained by centrifugation through a Percoll gradient. From experiments using disulfide-reducing, thiol-oxidizing and thiol-detecting agents, we concluded that sperm nuclei fluoresce red when they are treated with acid while their DNA-associated protamines are poor in disulfides. Under such conditions, DNA is vulnerable to denaturation. Acridine orange binds to denatured (single-stranded) DNA as aggregates and emits red fluorescence. In contrast, when sperm nuclei are treated with acid while their DNA-associated protamines are rich in disulfides, DNA is resistant to denaturation. Acridine orange binds to native (double-stranded) DNA as a monomer and emits green fluorescence.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

PMID:
1399837
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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