Females become infertile as the stored sperm's oxygen radicals increase

Abstract : Abstract Predicting infertility is central to reproductive biology, medicine and evolutionary biology. In-vitro studies suggest that oxidative sperm damage causes infertility. Oxidative sperm damage can be reduced via two fundamental pathways: the removal of oxygen radicals by antioxidants, or the interference with cell metabolism to reduce the formation of oxygen radicals. Oxidative damage protection of spermatozoa should evolve frequently, especially during female sperm storage. However, in-vivo evidence linking oxidative protection and fertility is rare. We show that the intra-sperm production rate of oxygen radicals and the sperm metabolic rate were reduced in female bedbugs, Cimex lectularius, compared to males, and females laid fertile eggs. Females became infertile when sperm oxygen radicals and sperm metabolic rate increased to male levels. Our results link female fitness to sublethal sperm damage, imply adaptive benefits of interfering with sperm metabolism and offer the hypothesis that polyandry may serve to replace low-quality sperm.
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Klaus Reinhardt, Anne-Cécile Ribou. Females become infertile as the stored sperm's oxygen radicals increase. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2013, 3, pp.2888. ⟨10.1038/srep02888⟩. ⟨hal-01168092⟩

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