Spontaneous Lipid Peroxidation in Rabbit Spermatozoa: A Useful Model for the Reaction of O2 Metabolites with Single Cells

  • J. G. Alvarez
  • M. K. Holland
  • B. T. Storey
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 169)


Mature mammalian spermatozoa comprise a relatively homogeneous population of cells. In suspension, their motility provides a readily visualized index of cell viability. Suspensions of spermatozoa are, therefore, convenient and useful systems for studying the reactions of O2 and its partially reduced metabolites which cause cell damage. It has been known for nearly 40 years that high O2 tensions are deleterious to the motility of human sperm (McLeod, 1943). Bull and ram spermatozoa were shown to lose motility on storage at 4°C in concert with loss of phospholipid, particularly plasmalogen, suggesting that this loss was due to lipid peroxidation leading to plasma membrane damage (Jones and Mann, 1973; Mann and Lutwak-Mann, 1981). Since most mammalian sperm contain little or no catalase (Mann, 1964), O2-induced damage to spermatozoa has been attributed to H2O2 (Wales et al., 1959). Another source of O2-induced damage could be the superoxide anion O2: Menella and Jones (1980) demonstrated superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in spermatozoa from a variety of mammalian species, suggesting that O2 might be produced in these cells. But no documentation of O2 production was provided.


Lipid Peroxidation Sperm Cell Sperm Cell Concentration Order Rate Constant Double Reciprocal Plot 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Alvarez
    • 1
  • M. K. Holland
    • 1
  • B. T. Storey
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Physiology and Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Pennsylvania, School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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