Taurine, hypotaurine, epinephrine and albumin inhibit lipid peroxidation in rabbit spermatozoa and protect against loss of motility

Biol Reprod. 1983 Oct;29(3):548-55. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod29.3.548.


Loss of forward motility of rabbit epididymal spermatozoa in high K+ phosphate buffer is inhibited by taurine, hypotaurine, epinephrine and bovine serum albumin. Pyruvate and lactate also show this effect. The rate of lipid peroxidation in these spermatozoa, as measured by rate of formation of malondialdehyde, is also inhibited by these agents. A close linear correlation between percent inert spermatozoa and malondialdehyde was found, which was independent of the rate of peroxidation. Complete cessation of motility was observed at 0.5 nmol malondialdehyde/10(8) cells in the absence or presence of these agents, which is the same value found in other suspending media in a previous study [Alvarez and Storey (1982) Biol. Reprod. 27:1102-1108]. Albumin was the most effective agent in preventing loss of motility and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. Hypotaurine was the next most effective, followed by taurine, epinephrine, pyruvate and lactate. Hypotaurine reduces the amount of rate of superoxide production, as measured by the rate of reduction of acetylated ferricytochrome c by O(2), from rabbit sperm under these conditions and concomitantly reduces inactivation of the superoxide dismutase in these cells. Since superoxide seems to be the major inducer of lipid peroxidation in rabbit sperm, the protective effect of hypotaurine, which should be readily permeant to the plasma membrane, may be ascribed to scavenging of intracellular superoxide. The mechanism of the protective action of albumin is not known. Rabbit epididymal spermatozoa lose motility over time if Ca2+ or Mg2+ are omitted from the suspending medium.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Peroxides / metabolism
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Serum Albumin / pharmacology*
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / analysis
  • Taurine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Taurine / pharmacology*


  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Serum Albumin
  • Taurine
  • hypotaurine
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Epinephrine