The effect of acrylamide on sperm oxidative stress, total antioxidant levels, tyrosine phosphorylation, and carboxymethyl-lysine expression: A laboratory study


Background: Acrylamide (AA) is a reactive molecule produced during food processing at temperatures above 120°C.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of different concentrations of AA on human sperm parameters, oxidative stress and total antioxidant capacity (TAC).

Materials and Methods: In this laboratory study, semen samples were obtained from healthy donors referred to the Taleghani Hospital, Tehran, Iran between June and July 2019. Samples were divided into four groups (n = 10/each): one control and three treatment groups (0.5, 1, and 2 mM of AA). After 2 hr of exposure to AA, the superoxide dismutase and malondialdehyde levels were measured based on colorimetric methods. The TAC was determined by the ferric-reducing antioxidant power assay. Flow cytometry was performed to measure the intracellular reactive oxygen species generation. Also, immunohistochemistry was done to determine the effect of AA on tyrosine phosphorylation and carboxymethyl-lysine expression.

Results: Results of the study demonstrated that the motility and viability of spermatozoa were significantly decreased after AA exposure (p < 0.001). This decrease was also seen in the TAC and superoxide dismutase activity as well as in the phosphotyrosine percentage compared with the control (p < 0.01). However, the carboxymethyllysine and prooxidant activity including reactive oxygen species generation and lipid peroxidation level increased (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Overall, the results confirmed the detrimental effect of AA on human spermatozoa which may be due to oxidative stress and decreased total antioxidant levels. AA may reduce fertility by reducing sperm capacitation and motility.

Key words: Acrylamide, Oxidative stress, Antioxidant, Spermatozoa, Infertility.

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