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Korean Journal of Fertility and Sterility 2002;29(2):149-157.
Published online June 1, 2002.
The Effect of L-carnitine and Acetylcarnitine on Sperm Parameters in vitro.
Wan Lee, Nam Cheol Park
Abstract
OBJECTIVE
To assess the scavenging effect of carnitine derivatives on oxidative damage to sperm during sperm processing cryopreservation and thawing. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fresh semen samples from 20 normal healthy volunteers were collected by masturbation after at least 48 hours abstinence. After liquefaction of semen samples at room temperature, the specimens were diluted with sperm wash media (Ham's F-10, Life technologics) to a uniform density of 20x106/ml. L-carnitine or acetylcarnitine were added with various concentration of 0 micrometer, 10 micrometer, 30 micrometer in semen sample or cryoprotectant. All specimens were cryopreservated at -196degrees C LN2 for 3 days. Sperm motility, vitality, fertilizing capacity, reactive oxygen species formation and the level of lipid peroxidation were analyzed by computer assisted semen analyzer, eosin-nigrosin stain, hypo-osmotic swelling test, chemiluminescence and thiobarbituric acid method, respectively, during sperm processing, cryopreservation and thawing. RESULTS: The sperm motility was only increased in proportion to the concentration of acetylcarnitine with no statistical significance (p>0.05). The sperm vitality was also significantly improved in proportion to the concentration of acetylcarnitine with statistical significance (p<0.05). The sperm fertilizing capacity was significantly increased in proportion to the concentration of L-carnitine and acetylcarnitine and reactive oxygen species generation and lipid peroxidation were significantly decreased with same fashion(p<0.05). On comparison of effects between L-carnitine and acetylcarnitine, acetylcarnitine was superior to L-carnitine on the improvement of sperm motility and vitality as well as the suppression of reactive oxygen species generation and lipid peroxidation. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that carnitine derivatives have a scavenging effect against oxidative damages during sperm processing, cryopreservation and thawing. Therefore, carnitine derivatives may be useful as an oral antioxidant in patients with male infertility due to increased ROS generation.


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