Leptin and prolactin reduce cryodamage in normozoospermic human semen samples during cryopreservation

Rev Int Androl. 2022 Oct 21;S1698-031X(22)00087-5. doi: 10.1016/j.androl.2021.12.001. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Cryopreservation has destructive effects on the function and structure of spermatozoa. It is known that leptin and prolactin play an active role in decreasing the rates of reactive oxygen species and DNA fragmentation, as well as enhancing sperm motility. Hence, this experiment aimed to investigate the effects of leptin and prolactin as pro-survival factors on the normozoospermic human semen samples during cryopreservation.

Material and methods: Semen samples were collected from 15 healthy, fertile men ranging from 25 to 40 years. Cryopreservation of the samples was performed in liquid nitrogen over a period of two weeks, using five varying concentrations of leptin/prolactin, 0, 10, 100, 500, and 1000ng/ml respectively. Sperm motility, total caspase activity, and mitochondrial and cytosolic ROS were measured by flowcytometry, TUNEL, and other appropriate tests after thawing of the samples.

Results: Both hormones were observed to have positive effects on the motility of the samples post-cryopreservation, the highest improvement being in the 100ng/ml concentration leptin and prolactin in comparison to the control group (P=0.01 and P=0.041, respectively). A significant reduction of mitochondrial ROS was also observed in 100 and 1000ng/ml of leptin (P=0.042), and there was a considerable decrease in the cytosolic ROS in the 100ng/ml of prolactin in comparison to the control group (P=0.048). Total caspase activity was also highly reduced in the 100, 500, and 1000ng/ml of leptin compared to the control group (P=0.039). Interestingly, both hormones also significantly decreased DNA fragmentation in 1000ng/ml compared to the control group (P=0.042).

Conclusion: It can be concluded that leptin and prolactin act as protective agents against cryodamage to spermatozoa during cryopreservation.

Keywords: Criopreservación; Cryopreservation; Espermatozoide; Leptin; Leptina; Prolactin; Prolactina; Spermatozoa.