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A growing number of researches have shown that ouabain can regulate mammalian sperm function and male reproduction by modulating the sperm motility, capacitation and acrosome reaction in vitro. This study further examined the relationship between ouabain and asthenozoospermia. In this study, the rat was intraperitoneally injected with ouabain at different concentrations (low-dose ouabain group: 12.5 μg/kg body weight per day, and high-dose ouabain group: 25 μg/kg body weight per day) for 30 days to establish the asthenozoospermia model. The sperms from 60 males with normal fertility were incubated with ouabain of gradient concentrations (10-7–10-2 mol/L) for 4 h. The sperm motility was evaluated under a microscope. Moreover, the endogenous ouabain (EO) level was determined in seminal plasma of mild or severe asthenozoospermia patients and males with normal fertility by competitive inhibition ELISA. The results showed that the sperm motility was significantly diminished in the rats treated with different concentrations of ouabain. The number of motile sperms (grades a and b) was decreased greatly in a time- and dose-dependent manner in 10-5–10-2 mol/L ouabain groups (P<0.01), while no obvious change in sperm motility was observed in 10-7–10-6mol/L groups even for 4-h incubation (P>0.05). Furthermore, the EO level was significantly increased in asthenozoospermia patients as compared with that in males with normal fertility (25.27±1.71 μg/L in mild asthenozoospermia patients, 26.52±1.82 μg/L in severe asthenozoospermia patients, 19.31±1.45 μg/L in normal fertility men) (P<0.01). In conclusion, rat asthenozoospermia was successfully established by intraperitoneal injection of ouabain, and 10-5 mol/L ouabain was sufficient enough to inhibit sperm motility in vitro. Moreover, EO, a normal constituent of seminal plasma, was highly expressed in asthenozoospermia males as compared with normal fertility ones.

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Correspondence to Ping Su  (苏 萍).

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This work was supported by 2012 Independence Innovation Foundation of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (No. 01-18-519003).

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Yang, Yh., Wan, Y., Lou, H. et al. Relationship between ouabain and asthenozoospermia. J. Huazhong Univ. Sci. Technol. [Med. Sci.] 34, 87–90 (2014).

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