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Animal Reproduction and Physiology
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2006;19(3): 335-340.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2006.335    Published online February 1, 2006.
The Role of Mercury in the Etiology of Sperm Dysfunction in Holstein Bulls
M. Arabi
A large number of toxicological substances and pharmacological and physical agents can cause reproductive intervention at the cellular and molecular level. The present study was designed to assess the effect of mercury (HgCl2) at 50 to 550 M concentration ranges, in vitro, on the sperm membrane and DNA integrity, viability, and acrosomal status of normal bull spermatozoa. The samples were processed for sperm analyses using semen-diluting fluid (PBS, pH 7.2). We recorded a sharp increase in the lipid peroxidation/LPO rate; the highest was at 550 M mercury concentration, indicating a deleterious effect of mercury on the sperm membrane intactness. There was also a strong negative correlation between LPO rate and % viable spermatozoa (R = 0.987, p<0.001). Data obtained from a comet assay technique revealed that mercury is capable of inducing DNA breaks in the sperm nuclei. Interestingly, 92% of DNA breaks were double-stranded. The correlation between LPO rate and % DNA breaks was 0.984. Performing the gelatin test indicates that mercury is able to alter the integrity of acrosomal membranes showing an abnormal acrosome reaction. In this regard, a strong link was found between LPO rate and % halos (R = 0.990, p<0.001). Collectively, mercury proved to be a potent oxidant in the category of environmental factors affecting bull spermatozoa. Hence, considering the wide spread use of mercury and its compounds, these metals should be regarded with more concern.
Keywords: Mercury; Bull Sperm; Membrane and DNA Integrity; Viability; Acrosome Reaction
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