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This study was designed to evaluate the effects of semen processing on the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in spermatozoa, and to develop reliable indexes for the evaluation of sperm quality during sperm preparation. Swim-up and density gradient centrifugation methods were used to separate semen in oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT), leucocytospermia (LC) and normozoospermia groups. Levels of ROS and MMP were measured by flow cytometry. Before preparation, the patients with abnormal semen parameters had a lower MMP and higher ROS, and there was a negative correlation between MMP and ROS. The levels of MMP and ROS increased significantly, especially ROS produced by swim-up. A significant difference was found between the correlation of MMP and total normal motile sperm count after preparation in the OAT group. The level of ROS was associated with the amount of white blood cells in the LC group. The MMP can be used as an objective index to evaluate the sperm quality of OAT patients, and the combination of MMP and ROS can be used to assess the efficiency of sperm preparation in LC patients. These findings can guide selection of the ideal sperm separation technique for different sperm samples. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Z Li, Y Zhou, R Liu, H Lin, W Liu, W Xiao, Q Lin. Effects of semen processing on the generation of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial membrane potential of human spermatozoa. Andrologia. 2012 Jun;44(3):157-63

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PMID: 21729130

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