Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Reprod Dev. 1995 Nov;42(3):334-46.

Differential incorporation of fatty acids into and peroxidative loss of fatty acids from phospholipids of human spermatozoa.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Intact human sperm incorporated radiolabelled fatty acids into membrane phospholipids when incubated in medium containing bovine serum albumin as a fatty acid carrier. The polyunsaturated fatty acids were preferentially incorporated into the plasmalogen fraction of phospholipid. Uptake was linear with time over 2 hr; at this time sufficient label was available to determine the loss of fatty acids under conditions of spontaneous lipid peroxidation. Loss of the various phospholipid types, the loss of the various fatty acids from these phospholipids, and the overall loss of fatty acids were all first order. The loss of saturated fatty acids was slow with first order rate constant k1 = 0.003 hr-1; for the polyunsaturated fatty acids, arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids, k1 = 0.145 and 0.162 hr-1, respectively. The rate of loss of fatty acids from the various phospholipid types was dependent on the type, with loss from phosphatidylethanolamine being the most rapid. Among the phospholipid types, phosphatidylethanolamine was lost at the greatest rate. Analysis of fatty acid loss through oxidation products was determined for radiolabelled arachidonic acid. Under conditions of spontaneous lipid peroxidation at 37 degrees C under air in the absence of albumin, free arachidonic acid was found in the medium, along with minor amounts of hydroxylated derivative. All the hydroperoxy fatty acid remained in the cells. In the presence of albumin, all the hydroperoxy fatty acid was found in the supernatant bound to albumin; none could be detected in the cells. Albumin is known as a very potent inhibitor of lipid peroxidation in sperm; its action may be explained, based on these results, as binding the damaging hydroperoxy fatty acids. These results also indicate that a phospholipase A2 may act in peroxidative defense by excising a hydroperoxy acyl group from phospholipid and providing the hydroperoxy fatty acid product as substrate to glutathione peroxidase. This formulation targets hydroperoxy fatty acid as a key intermediate in peroxidative degradation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center