Two Studies Examining Selenium With Respect to Sperm Motility:

Several research projects are under way at SRMS regarding the effects of selenium on human sperm. The focus of these studies has been to determine if selenium can be added to sperm preparations to increase motility (movement) and forward progression (forward movement) of the sperm. The ability to enhance these two parameters would greatly increase the number of quality sperm available for insemination and various Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) procedures.

Effect Of In Vitro Supplementation Of Selenium On Human Sperm Survival And Motility Characteristics
Andrew Bhatnager, Ph.D., Corey Burke, B.S., C.L.S., Alisa Santiago, Craig R. Sweet, M.D. (4/2008)

Selenium deficiency has been associated with several reproductive dysfunctions including impaired sperm motility and several morphological changes in sperm structure. This research set forth to evaluate the effects of in vitro supplementation of selenium on the motility of fresh human sperm. Freshly ejaculated washed human spermatozoa were exposed to numerous dosages of selenocysteine ranging from 5?g/mL to 20?g/mL through in vitro supplementation. The sperm motility, defined as sperm movement, and progression, defined as the quality of the movement, was evaluated using computer assisted semen analysis (CASA). The results yielded that the control sperm maintained a higher motility and progression rate over a longer period then all of the selenium treated sperm. The selenium treated sperm did show an increase in motility and progression that the control did not at different times of incubation. The results from this study were inclusive in determining any distinct influences of selenocysteine on in vitro human sperm function. More detailed studies, using an adjusted and wider range of selenium dosages, are needed to investigate the role of selenocysteine on in vitro sperm survival. Further studies would be beneficial to establish in vitro effects of biologically compatible forms of selenium on sperm survival. This would have tremendous clinical implications in improving post-thaw sperm survival and function.

Dr. Sweet’s Comments:
We are constantly looking for techniques that will improve the ability of the sperm to fertilize. Selenium is the substance under consideration in this paper. In this preliminary study, one of the problems was that the sperm was so healthy; it was difficult to find any differences between the control and the selenium-exposed sperm. Second, we were uncertain as to how much selenium to use and we possibly used too much. A few sperm gave their lives up for this research…

Effects of In Vitro Selenium Supplementation on Motility of Human Sperm
Andrew Bhatnager, Ph.D., Corey Burke, B.S., C.L.S., Craig R. Sweet, M.D., Jacqueline Tovar (11/2007)
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) routinely encounter sperm cells exhibiting reduced motility due to male factor subfertility or poor post-thaw sperm survival, resulting in decreased fertilization potential. Novel methods of enhancing or maintaining motility have implications in improving the success rates of ART.

Several substances have been routinely used in clinical In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to enhance human sperm function, including peritoneal fluid, follicular fluid, progesterone, adenosine analogs, and methylxanthines such as caffeine and pentoxifylline. Recently, in vitro selenium supplementation studies have shown improved human sperm motility. Sporadic studies using in vitro supplementation of spermatozoa with selenium have also been reported to enhance motility in bovine spermatozoa.

The objective of this study was to examine the effects of in vitro supplementation on human sperm motility. Sperm were isolated from seminal plasma using a concentration gradient. The sperm were then incubated in varying concentrations of selenium ranging from 0.2ug/mL to 20 ug/mL. Computer Assisted Semen Analysis (CASA) was used to evaluate the sperm motility at baseline and at various intervals up to 72 hours. Results at 48 hours showed the greatest gain or retention of motility in selenium-exposed specimens vs. the control without supplementation. At 48 hours, specimens supplemented with 1.2 ug/mL revealed a motility of 46%. In a similar manner, specimens supplemented with 1.6 ug/mL show a motility of 48%. The unexposed control had a motility of only 32% at 48 hours. Beyond 48 hours, supplementation appeared to be detrimental to sperm motility in all concentrations. The data suggest that up to 48 hours of incubation in selenium supplemented media may preserve or augment sperm motility in human sperm.

Dr. Sweet’s Comments:
In this study, the laboratory methodically examined differing concentrations of selenium to see what the optimal concentration would be to improve sperm movement. It would appear that we found a more ideal concentration although the effects were only obvious at 48 hours. After that, the selenium may have had a detrimental role in sperm survival. This study provided more information but was still somewhat preliminary. A great deal more work needs to be done before we can propose that selenium might be of some clinical use but this was a good start.

There are two basic techniques for cryropreserving embryos. The first involves a “slow freeze” process while a second technique uses a more rapid technique called vitrification. There is published data suggesting that vitrification may be better with regards to embryo survival and implantation. This study was designed to compare the two procedures.

Comparing Cryopreservation Methods Using Mouse Embryos
Jeremy McGuire, Andrew Bhatnagar, Ph.D. (4/2007)

Innovations in cryopreservation methods have led to successful cryopreservation of human oocytes and embryos. The present study was designed to compare efficacy of two cryopreservation techniques, the conventional “slow freeze” method and a new ultra rapid method of “vitrification”. Previously frozen 2-cell outbred strain of mouse embryos (BDF X CF1) were thawed and cultured in vitro in KSOM media for 24 hours to the 6-8 cell stage and then cryopreserved using 1,2-propanediol (PROH) as a cryoprotectant for the slow freeze method and ethylene glycol /dimethyl sulfoxide (EG/DMSO) for vitrification. Preliminary results suggest that vitrified embryos exhibited a higher post-thaw survival rate (100%) and improved blastocyst formation rate (88%) compared with the slow freeze method (71% % 59% respectively). Further experiments are in progress to statically confirm these results and to evaluate effectiveness of vitrification over current slow freeze methods for cryopreservation of human gametes and embryos in clinical IVF laboratories.

Dr. Sweet’s Comments:
This was our first study using vitrification. The data was intreaging although not conclusive. Published data regarding human embryos seems to also be leaning towards vitrification as a technique that improves the survival rates of cryopreserved-thawed embryos. The next study we have proposed involves human oocytes, a much more difficult cell to freeze, wherein we intend to compare two different storage containers with respect to embryologist satisfaction, survival and implantation rates. Stay tuned!
updated 6/9/09
© 2011 Specialists In Reproductive Medicine & Surgery, P.A. |

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.