The occurrence of polyenoic fatty acids with greater than 22 carbon atoms in mammalian spermatozoa

Biochem J. 1986 Dec 15;240(3):891-5. doi: 10.1042/bj2400891.


Fatty acids with carbon chain lengths greater than 22 (VLCFA) have been detected in boar, ram, bull and human spermatozoa. Saturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids were present in all spermatozoa but, except for human spermatozoa, polyenoic fatty acids were quantitatively the most important components. Marked differences in polyenoic fatty acid composition were observed. Whereas human spermatozoa contain predominantly di-, tri- and tetraenoic fatty acids with up to 32 carbon atoms, boar, ram and bull spermatozoa also contain pentaenoic and/or hexaenoic acids with up to 34 carbon atoms. Human and boar spermatozoa differ markedly from those of the ram and bull in that only n-6 series acids are present.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Sheep
  • Spermatozoa / analysis*
  • Swine


  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated