Background: The glycoconjugate content of sperms indicates their physiological and fertility properties. Lectin reactivity is indicative of intact, capacitated, and acrosome-reacted sperms. In the epididymis, sperms experience maturation, glycoconjugate modification, and simultaneously, higher L-carnitine (LC) concentrations. The aim of this project was to evaluate the effects of LC and Pentoxifylline (PF) on the integrity, capacitation, and acrosomal reaction of sperms by studying their lectin reactivity.
Methods: Mouse testicular sperm samples were divided into three parts. Each sample was added Ham#s F10 (control) or media containing 1.76 mM LC or PF. At 30 and 90 minutes after incubation, sperm motility was assessed. Peanut agglutinin (PNA), wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), and Concanavalin A (Con A) were used to detect non-acrosome-reacted, non-capacitated, and acrosome-reacted sperms, respectively and the frequency was evaluated by flow cytometry. Statistical analysis was performed using the ANOVA.
Results: Sperm motility increased after 30 and 90 minutes of incubation in the LC- and PF-treated cultures (P=0.001). LC administration created a significant increase in the percentage of the non-acrosome-reacted sperms compared to the control sperms after 30 and 90 minutes (P=0.02 and P=0.03, respectively). The frequency of the non-capacitated sperms in the LC-treated group increased compared to the control sperms after 30 minutes significantly (P=0.01).
Conclusion: Although the administration of LC and PF enhanced sperm motility, LC also impacted glycoconjugates on the sperm surface. Glycoconjugates are involved in the interaction between the sperm and the zona pellucida and subsequently fertilization, thereby probably influencing the male fertility state.