We have discovered, by immunocytochemistry and immunoelectronmicroscopy, that humanin (HN) is expressed in human ejaculated sperm and testis. In sperm, the HN immunolabeling pattern depends on sperm morphology; in particular, HN is mainly localized in the midpiece of sperm in semen samples with normal morphology and in cytoplasmic residues and entire tail in those with abnormal morphology. We also found HN in the cytoplasm and nucleus of spermatocytes and spermatids and in experimentally uncoiled chromatin of mature ejaculated sperm. Because it has been established that HN has antiapoptotic properties, it is reasonably hypothesized that HN may play an important role in preventing apoptosis in human sperm and testis. Thus, the examination of the HN localization in normal and abnormal sperm could be proposed as an auxiliary test to better define sperm quality.
Copyright © 2010 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.