Antioxidant Defence System of Boar Cauda Epididymidal Spermatozoa and Reproductive Tract Fluids


Author’s address (for correspondence): M. Koziorowska-Gilun, Department of Animal Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Animal Bioengineering, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowskiego 5, 10-718 Olsztyn, Poland.


Antioxidants secreted by the reproductive tract protect spermatozoa against the toxic effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) after ejaculation. This study aimed at characterizing the level of antioxidant protection in boar cauda epididymidal spermatozoa and fluids of the cauda epididymidis, vesicular and prostate glands. Also, this study investigated the effect of a 5-h period of dialysis on the antioxidant capacity of boar seminal plasma. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione transferase (GST) and phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPx) activities were monitored in the cauda epididymidal spermatozoa or reproductive tract fluids. Also, the concentrations of total glutathione (GSH + GSSG), l-ergothioneine (ERT) and l-ascorbate and the total antioxidant status (TAS) of the fluids were measured. It was found that the cauda epididymidal spermatozoa exhibited high SOD activity and relatively low activity of PHGPx. The relative amounts of GPx, GR and GST activities in the cauda epididymidal spermatozoa were negligible, whereas CAT activity was undetectable. Greater SOD activity was found in the fluids of the cauda epididymidis and prostate gland. Furthermore, the prostate gland fluid appeared to be the main source of CAT activity in the seminal plasma, whereas the highest level of GPx activity was derived from the cauda epididymidal fluid. The reproductive tract fluids exhibited negligible amounts of GR and GST activities. It seemed that the significant amounts of GSH + GSSG, ERT and l-ascorbate in the reproductive tract fluids could have an ameliorative effect on the level of TAS in the seminal plasma. Dialysis had a marked effect on the total antioxidant capacity of the seminal plasma, which was manifested in greater activity of SOD and GPx. The findings of this study confirmed that the scavenging potential of the seminal plasma is dependent on the contributions of different antioxidants, originating in various fluids of boar reproductive tract.