Lipid profiles of sperm and seminal plasma from boars having normal or low sperm motility

Theriogenology. 2011 Mar 15;75(5):897-903. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2010.10.032. Epub 2010 Dec 17.


Sperm plasma membrane lipids have an important role to play in determining membrane fluidity and sperm motility. The objective of the present study was to determine whether there are differences in the lipid and fatty acid (FA) composition of boar sperm and seminal plasma in the ejaculates of boars having different sperm motilities. Semen was collected from two groups of boars having normal (> 60%; n = 53) or low (< 60%; n = 53) motility sperm and the semen was evaluated for motility, morphology and vitality. The semen was then centrifuged to separate the sperm from the seminal plasma and both were kept at -20 °C until analyzed for lipid content and FA profile by gas chromatography. Total antioxidant status (TAS) of seminal plasma was determined using a commercial kit. There were differences (P ≤ 0.05) in sperm total lipids, cholesterol, saturated fatty acids (SFA), phospholipids, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the ratio of n-6:n-3 PUFA between boars with normal and low motility sperm. Total lipids, cholesterol, phospholipids, PUFA, DHA and n-3 PUFA were positively correlated with sperm motility, viability, normal morphology and normal plasma membrane. In contrast, SFA and the ratio of n-6: n-3 PUFA were negatively correlated (P ≤ 0.05) with sperm motility, viability, normal morphology and normal plasma membranes. The TAS of seminal plasma from boars having normal motility sperm was higher (P ≤ 0.05) than that of boars having low motility sperm and TAS was positively correlated (P = 0.0001) with sperm motility, viability, normal morphology and normal plasma membranes. In summary, differences in sperm motility were related to n-3 PUFA content in the sperm plasma membrane and extracellular antioxidants in seminal plasma which protect sperm plasma membranes from lipid peroxidation during periods of oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cholesterol / analysis
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / analysis
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Male
  • Phospholipids / analysis
  • Semen / chemistry*
  • Sperm Motility / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / abnormalities
  • Spermatozoa / chemistry*
  • Spermatozoa / ultrastructure
  • Swine / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Lipids
  • Phospholipids
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Cholesterol