Storage of sperm under refrigeration reduces its viability, due to oxidative unbalance. Unfermented teas present high levels of catechin derivatives, known to reduce oxidative stress. This study investigated the effect of white tea (WTEA) on epididymal spermatozoa survival at room temperature (RT), using green tea (GTEA) for comparative purposes. The chemical profiles of WTEA and GTEA aqueous extracts were evaluated by (1)H NMR. (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate was the most abundant catechin, being twice as abundant in WTEA extract. The antioxidant power of storage media was evaluated. Spermatozoa antioxidant potential, lipid peroxidation, and viability were assessed. The media antioxidant potential increased the most with WTEA supplementation, which was concomitant with the highest increase in sperm antioxidant potential and lipid peroxidation decrease. WTEA supplementation restored spermatozoa viability to values similar to those obtained at collection time. These findings provide evidence that WTEA extract is an excellent media additive for RT sperm storage, to facilitate transport and avoid the deleterious effects of refrigeration.
Keywords: Camellia sinensis; antioxidants; epigallocatechin-3-gallate; green tea; reactive oxygen species; sperm; white tea.