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Biocell. 2005 Dec;29(3):287-93.

Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase inhibition increases tyrosine phosphorylation and hyper motility in normal and pathological human spermatozoa.

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The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA.


Our objective was to determine the effect of phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibition on: 1) tyrosine phosphorylation of human spermatozoa at the tail level; and 2) sperm motion parameters and hyperactivated motility. The study was conducted with normozoospermic and asthenozoospermic samples incubated under in vitro capacitating conditions. The main outcome measures were computer-assisted sperm motion analysis and fluorescent immunodetection of phosphotyrosine-containing proteins. Pentoxifylline (PTX) was used as PDE inhibitor because of its wide use in the clinic. PTX-treatment significantly increased sperm velocity, hyperactivated motility and tyrosine-phosphorylation, both in normo and asthenozoospermic samples. Tyrosine-phosphorylation of tail proteins was highly conspicuous in both types of samples, showing no differential pattern after PTX-treatment. Normozoospermic samples treated with pentoxifylline showed an increase in the number of spermatozoa displaying hyperactivated movement and tyrosine-phosphorylation at the tail level. Preliminary data on asthenozoospermic samples exhibiting altered motion characteristics and defective phosphorylation of sperm-tail proteins showed that both defects can be concomitantly overcome by pentoxifylline treatment. Tyrosine-phosphorylation of sperm-tail proteins is underlying the enhancement of hyperactivated motility resulting from PDE inhibition by pentoxifylline.

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