The complex structure of the human spermatozoa membrane comprises five topographic domains. Transmembrane asymmetry of the distribution of phospholipids including phosphatidylserine (PS) is considered a marker of cell activity. The objective of the study was to determine which cytomembrane domains of human spermatozoa are involved in PS membrane translocation and to identify the possible relationship of PS translocation with spermatozoa morphology and vitality. In normozoospermic semen of 35 donors, annexin-V labeling with fluorescein determined PS translocation. Propidium iodide staining distinguished between vital and dead spermatozoa. Three types of PS membrane translocation have been distinguished: (1) in the midpiece, (2) in the acrosomal part and (3) simultaneously in the midpiece and acrosomal part. In morphologically normal vital spermatozoa, PS translocation occurred in the midpiece but never in the equatorial region. In dead spermatozoa, simultaneous PS translocation in the midpiece and acrosomal part was most often observed. The difference between proportions of, respectively, vital and dead spermatozoa presenting PS translocation located in different domains was significant (P < 0.0001). In vital cells, there was no difference in PS translocation prevalence between morphologically normal and abnormal spermatozoa (P > 0.05). The strict relation of PS translocation to specific membrane domains indicates functional specificity. It seems doubtful to include this phenomenon in physiological mechanisms of elimination of abnormal spermatozoa.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 27, 2011
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