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Red wine consumption may affect sperm biology: The effects of different concentrations of the phytoestrogen Myricetin on human male gamete function

Authors

  • Saveria Aquila,

    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Marta Santoro,

    1. Post-graduate School in Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Francesca De Amicis,

    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Carmela Guido,

    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Daniela Bonofiglio,

    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Marilena Lanzino,

    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Maria Grazia Cesario,

    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Ida Perrotta,

    1. Ecology Department, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Diego Sisci,

    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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  • Catia Morelli

    Corresponding author
    1. Pharmaco-Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
    • Pharmaco Biology Department, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS) 87036, Italy.
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  • Diego Sisci and Catia Morelli are joint senior authors.

  • Saveria Aquila and Marta Santoro contributed equally to the work.

Abstract

Myricetin is a natural flavonoid, particularly enriched in red wines, whose occurrence is widespread among plants. Despite extensive research, the beneficial effects of Myricetin on human health are still controversial. Here, we tested the estrogen-like effect of the phytoestrogen Myricetin on human ejaculated sperm biology. To this aim, human normozoospermic samples were exposed to increasing concentrations (10 nM, 100 nM, and 1 µM) of Myricetin. Motility, viability, capacitation-associated biochemical changes (i.e., cholesterol efflux and tyrosine phosphorylation), acrosin activity, as well as glucose utilization and fatty-acid oxidation (i.e., glucose and lipid metabolism) were all significantly increased by low doses of Myricetin. Importantly, both estrogen receptors α and β (ERs) and phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling are activated in the presence of Myricetin since these were both abrogated by specific inhibitors of each pathway. Our results show how Myricetin, through ERs and PI3K/AKT signalings, potentiates sperm function. This effect is dose-dependent at low concentrations of Myricetin (up to 100 nM), whereas higher amounts do not seem to improve any further sperm motility, viability, or other tested features, and, in some cases, they reduced or even abrogated the efficacy exerted by lower doses. Further studies are needed to elucidate if high levels of Myricetin, which could be attained even with moderate wine consumption, could synergize with endogenous estrogens in the female reproductive tract, interfering with the physiological sperm fertilization process. Mol. Reprod. Dev. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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