IJMS, Vol. 20, Pages 203: Proteomic Signatures Reveal Differences in Stress Response, Antioxidant Defense and Proteasomal Activity in Fertile Men with High Seminal ROS Levels (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a major cause of male infertility. However, some men with high seminal ROS levels are still fertile. The main objective of this study was to understand the molecular mechanism(s) responsible for the preservation of fertility in those men. Semen samples from fertile men were divided into two groups: control (n = 10, ROS < 102.2 RLU/s/106 sperm) and ROS+ (n = 10, ROS > 102.2 RLU/s/106 sperm). Proteomic analysis of seminal plasma and spermatozoa was used to identify the differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) between the experimental groups, from which some proteins were validated by Western blot (WB). A total of 44 and 371 DEPs were identified between the study groups in the seminal plasma and spermatozoa, respectively. The identified DEPs were primarily involved in oxidoreductase, endopeptidase inhibitor, and antioxidant activities. We validated by WB the underexpression of NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase core subunit S1 (p = 0.01), as well as the overexpression of superoxide dismutase 1 (p = 0.03) and peroxiredoxin 4 (p = 0.04) in spermatozoa of ROS+ group. Our data suggest that fertile men with high ROS levels possess an effective antioxidant defense system that protects sperm proteins, as well as an active proteasomal system for degradation of defective proteins.