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Anim Reprod Sci. 2010 May;119(1-2):123-9. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Oct 24.

The irradiation of rabbit sperm cells with He-Ne laser prevents their in vitro liquid storage dependent damage.

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Department of Animal, Vegetable and Environmental Sciences, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy.


The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of different energy doses of helium-neon (He-Ne) laser irradiation on both mitochondrial bioenergetics functions and functional quality of rabbit spermatozoa during 48 h of in vitro liquid storage at 15 degrees C. 11 rabbit semen pools were each divided into four aliquots: three of them were irradiated with He-Ne laser with different energy doses (3.96, 6.12 and 9.00 J/cm(2)) being the last control kept under the same experimental conditions without irradiation. Sperm motility, viability and acrosome integrity were monitored together with cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity and the cell energy charge (EC) at 0, 24 and 48 h of storage. Irradiated samples stored for 24 and 48 h better maintained motility (P < 0.01), acrosome integrity (P < 0.01) and viability (P < 0.05) with respect to the control, particularly with the energy dose of 6.12 J/cm(2) that showed the most intense biostimulative effect. COX activity and EC were immediately increased by irradiation particularly in the treatments 6.12 and 9.00 J/cm(2) (P < 0.05), that maintained their levels higher with respect to the control after 48 h of storage (P < 0.01). COX activity of rabbit sperm cells was positively correlated with EC (P < 0.05), viability (P < 0.01) and acrosome integrity (P < 0.05) parameters. These results indicate that the effects of He-Ne laser irradiation on sperm cells are mediated through the stimulation of the sperm mitochondrial respiratory chain and that this effect plays a significant role in the augmentation of the rabbit sperm cells' capability to survive during liquid storage conditions.

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