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Reduced metabolic rate and oxygen radicals production in stored insect sperm

Abstract : Abstract Females of internally fertilizing species can significantly extend sperm lifespan and functionality during sperm storage. The mechanisms for such delayed cellular senescence remain unknown. Here, we apply current hypotheses of cellular senescence developed for diploid cells to sperm cells, and empirically test opposing predictions on the relationship between sperm metabolic rate and oxygen radical production in an insect model, the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Using time-resolved microfluorimetry, we found a negative correlation between metabolic rate (proportion of protein-bound NAD[P]H) and in situ intracellular oxygen radicals production in freshly ejaculated sperm. In contrast, sperm stored by females for periods of 1 h to 26 days showed a positive correlation between metabolic rate and oxygen radicals production. At the same time, stored sperm showed a 37 per cent reduced metabolic rate, and 42 per cent reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, compared with freshly ejaculated sperm. Rank differences between males in ROS production and metabolic rate observed in ejaculated sperm did not predict rank differences in stored sperm. Our method of simultaneously measuring ROS production and metabolic rate of the same sample has the advantage of providing data that are independent of sperm density and any extracellular antioxidants that are proteins. Our method also excludes effects owing to accumulated hydrogen peroxide. Our results unify aspects of competing theories of cellular ageing and suggest that reducing metabolic rate may be an important means of extending stored sperm lifespan and functionality in crickets. Our data also provide a possible explanation for why traits of ejaculates sampled from the male may be rather poor predictors of paternity in sexual selection studies and likelihood of pregnancy in reproductive medicine.
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Contributor : Anne-Cécile Ribou <>
Submitted on : Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 11:38:13 AM
Last modification on : Monday, June 15, 2020 - 10:50:04 AM

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Anne-Cécile Ribou, Klaus Reinhardt. Reduced metabolic rate and oxygen radicals production in stored insect sperm. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2012, 279 (1736), pp.2196-2203. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2011.2422⟩. ⟨hal-01168086⟩



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