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Low Concentrations of Hydrogen Peroxide Activate the Antioxidant Defense System in Human Sperm Cells

V. V. Evdokimov1, K. V. Barinova2, V. B. Turovetskii3, V. I. Muronetz2, and E. V. Schmalhausen2*

1Lopatkin Institute of Urology, 105425 Moscow, Russia; fax: +7 (499) 165-0911; E-mail: vvevdok@mail.ru

2Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: +7 (495) 939-3181; E-mail: shmal@belozersky.msu.ru

3Lomonosov Moscow State University, Biological Faculty, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: +7 (495) 939-1115; E-mail: vbturovet@rambler.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received February 17, 2015
The effect of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (10-100 µM) on sperm motility and on the activity of the sperm enzyme glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDS) was investigated. Incubation of semen samples with 10 and 100 µM hydrogen peroxide increased the content of spermatozoa with progressive motility by 20 and 18%, respectively, and enhanced the activity of GAPDS in the sperm cells by 27 and 20% compared to a semen sample incubated without additions. It was also found that incubation with 10 µM hydrogen peroxide increased the content of reduced glutathione (GSH) in sperm cells by 50% on average compared to that in the control samples. It is supposed that low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide activate the pentose phosphate pathway, resulting in NADPH synthesis and the reduction of the oxidized glutathione by glutathione reductase yielding GSH. The formed GSH reduces the oxidized cysteine residues of the GAPDS active site, increasing the activity of the enzyme, which in turn enhances the content of sperm cells with progressive motility. Thus, the increase in motile spermatozoa in the presence of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can serve as an indicator of normal functioning of the antioxidant defense system in sperm cells.
KEY WORDS: glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, spermatozoa, reactive oxygen species, antioxidant defense

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297915090084