Objective: Assisted reproductive techniques are useful in helping infertile couples achieve successful conception. Initial studies have shown that sperm cryopreservation, one step in assisted reproduction, causes a dramatic reduction in sperm quality. This has been attributed to, among other things, free radical activities. The aim of the present study was to minimize this oxidative attack by adding an antioxidant into the sperm microenvironment. Alpha lipoic acids were selected for this purpose for their efficient free radical scavenging properties and solubility in lipid and aqueous phases.
Methods: For this investigation, semen from six Boer bucks was pooled. Seminal analysis of the baseline prior to incubation of samples with different concentrations of Alpha lipoic acids (0.00625, 0.0125, 0.025, 0.05, 0.1 mmol/ml) was performed, and post-seminal analysis was conducted after a one-hour incubation. The comet assay was used to observe the effect of Alpha lipoic acids on sperm DNA integrity. Statistical analysis using an unpaired t-test with a significance level of p<0.05 was then performed.
Results: Our results indicate that the sperm motility rate was improved after incubation with Alpha lipoic acids at a concentration of 0.02 mmol/ml. This concentration was also capable of reducing DNA damage.
Conclusion: In conclusion, Alpha lipoic acids renders cryoprotection to sperm, thereby improving sperm quality.