Biology of reproduction

Oxidative damage to rhesus macaque spermatozoa results in mitotic arrest and transcript abundance changes in early embryos.

PMID 23904511


Our objective was to determine whether oxidative damage of rhesus macaque sperm induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vitro would affect embryo development following intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) of metaphase II (MII) oocytes. Fresh rhesus macaque spermatozoa were treated with ROS as follows: 1 mM xanthine and 0.1 U/ml xanthine oxidase (XXO) at 37°C and 5% CO₂ in air for 2.25 h. Sperm were then assessed for motility, viability, and lipid peroxidation. Motile ROS-treated and control sperm were used for ICSI of MII oocytes. Embryo culture was evaluated for 3 days for development to the eight-cell stage. Embryos were fixed and stained for signs of cytoplasmic and nuclear abnormalities. Gene expression was analyzed by RNA-Seq in two-cell embryos from control and treated groups. Exposure of sperm to XXO resulted in increased lipid peroxidation and decreased sperm motility. ICSI of MII oocytes with motile sperm induced similar rates of fertilization and cleavage between treatments. Development to four- and eight-cell stage was significantly lower for embryos generated with ROS-treated sperm than for controls. All embryos produced from ROS-treated sperm demonstrated permanent embryonic arrest and varying degrees of degeneration and nuclear fragmentation, changes that are suggestive of prolonged senescence or apoptotic cell death. RNA-Seq analysis of two-cell embryos showed changes in transcript abundance resulting from sperm treatment with ROS. Differentially expressed genes were enriched for processes associated with cytoskeletal organization, cell adhesion, and protein phosphorylation. ROS-induced damage to sperm adversely affects embryo development by contributing to mitotic arrest after ICSI of MII rhesus oocytes. Changes in transcript abundance in embryos destined for mitotic arrest is evident at the two-cell stage of development.