• sperm CPK;
  • oligospermic/normospermic men;
  • sperm quality;
  • biochemical marker


Toward the development of biochemical probes for the assessment of sperm function we have measured the activities of sperm creatine-N-phosphotransferase (CPK). There was a highly significant inverse correlation (P < 0.001 in all comparisons) between sperm CPK activities and sperm concentrations in specimens of normospermic and oligospermic men with > 30 million sperm/ml (0.106 ± 0.01 SEM, Nequals;90, expressed as CPK U/100 million sperm), 20–30 million sperm/ml (0.333 ± 0.07 SEM, Nequals;30) and 10–20 million sperm/ml (0.583 ± 0.12 SEM, Nequals;30) when compared with the CPK values of the < 10 million/ml specimens (2.242 ± 0.46 SEM, Nequals;30). Furthermore, the distribution of CPK activities within these four groups showed that 96%, 67%, 43%, and 4% of the samples, respectively, were in the < 0.250 CPK U/100 million sperm normal range (mean + 2 SD of the > 30 million sperm/ml group). However, there was no relationship between sperm CPK activities and the values of sperm motility (P > 0.15) or morphology (Pequals;0.38) in the samples. The migrated sperm fractions (significantly improved in motility and velocity parameters) showed CPK activities lower than the initial semen specimens (P < 0.01, Nequals;150). In fact, in some oligospermic men the CPK activities of the migrated sperm fractions were within the range of normospermic samples. The data suggest that sperm CPK values in the initial specimens and the degree of improvement in the migrated sperm fractions reflect the relative concentrations of a “normal” sperm subpopulation. We propose that CPK activities and similar objective biochemical parameters may be important in predicting sperm quality and the fertilizing potential of oligospermic men.