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Oxytocin and oxytocin receptor are expressed in human spermatozoa and their expression is altered in semen samples with at least one abnormal parameter

Published:October 28, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2022.10.011

      Abstract

      Research question

      Are oxytocin and oxytocin receptor expressed in human spermatozoa and is their expression different between normal semen samples and samples with at least one abnormal parameter?

      Design

      An in-vitro prospective study was performed, including a total of 175 semen samples from Greek men. Semen analysis was performed according to World Health Organization criteria 2010. mRNA expression levels were compared between different categories of semen samples, classified according to their concentration, total number, motility, and morphology. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect oxytocin and its receptor on spermatozoa smears.

      Results

      Compared to normal samples, samples with at least one abnormal sperm parameter had statistically significantly lower oxytocin mRNA expression levels (p=0.019) and higher oxytocin receptor mRNA expression levels (p=0.000). Compared to samples with normal concentration, oligozoospermic samples had statistically significantly higher oxytocin mRNA expression levels (p=0.002] and lower oxytocin receptor mRNA expression levels p=0.047). In addition, compared to samples with normal motility, asthenozoospermic samples had statistically significantly lower oxytocin mRNA expression levels (p=0.000). Furthermore, teratozoospermic samples had statistically significantly lower oxytocin mRNA expression levels (p=0.049) and higher oxytocin receptor mRNA expression levels (p=0.000]. Interestingly, oxytocin mRNA expression was positively associated with total progressive motility (p=0.000) and negatively associated with the percentage of immotile spermatozoa (p=0.001). In contrast, oxytocin receptor mRNA expression was negatively associated with the percentage of normal forms (p=0.000).

      Conclusion

      Oxytocin and its receptor expression could play an important role in semen quality. Oxytocin and oxytocin mRNA expression in spermatozoa could be used as a novel and unbiased diagnostic tool of male infertility.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      Stefania Lymperi is a MSc and PhD holder of Imperial College with post-doctoral experience at Harvard Medical School. She is a research fellow at Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Greece and the director of a Private Andrology Laboratory. She has been awarded with grants and scholarships from Greek, European and American organizations.