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The sNHE channel in human sperm: relation with functional parameters and down-regulation in spermatozoa from patients with asthenozoospermia

Zhang, Z1; Yang, Y1; Jiang, H1

1: Peking university Third Hospital, China


Purpose: Sperm-specific sodium-hydrogen exchanger (sNHE) is essential to maintain sperm normal function in mice; however, its role in human sperm has not been clarified to date. The aim of this study is to investigate the expression pattern of sNHE in human spermatozoa and its relationship with sperm functional parameters.

Methods: Semen samples from 68 asthenozoospermic and 61 normozoospermic men were analyzed for sperm concentration, motility and acrosome reaction, and high motile spermatozoa were collected by swim-up method. The expression of sNHE in spermatozoa was detected by western blot and immunofluorescence staining. The relationship between sNHE expression and sperm parameters was assessed.

Results: We identified sNHE is mainly localized to the principal piece of human sperm tail. The expression of sNHE was positively correlated with sperm concentration, total number and progressive motility. Moreover, sNHE expression was up-regulated in swim-up sperm and associated with most of sperm motility parameters including straight line velocity and curvilinear velocity. Our results also showed that sNHE expression is decreased in sperm from patients with asthenozoospermia compared with that from normal controls. However, no correlation was found between sNHE expression and acrosome reaction in spermatozoa.

Conclusions: The expression pattern of sNHE suggested that this protein may be involved in the regulation of sperm motility, and aberration of its expression in sperm may contribute to the pathogenesis of asthenozoospermia.


Work supported by industry: no.

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