Nanotechnology in reproduction: Vitamin E nanoemulsions for reducing oxidative stress in sperm cells

F Sánchez-Rubio, P J Soria-Meneses, A Jurado-Campos, J Bartolomé-García, V Gómez-Rubio, A J Soler, M M Arroyo-Jimenez, M J Santander-Ortega, M Plaza-Oliver, M V Lozano, J J Garde, M R Fernández-Santos


Vitamin E is considered a powerful biological antioxidant; however, its characteristics such as high hydrophobicity and low stability limit its application. We propose to use nanotechnology as an innovative tool in spermatology, formulating nanoemulsions (NE) that accommodate vitamin E, protecting it from oxidation and promoting its release into the medium. The protective effect of the NE against oxidative stress was assessed in red deer epididymal sperm incubated at 37 °C. Cryopreserved sperm from eleven stags were thawed and extended to 400 × 106 sperm/ml in Bovine Gamete Medium (BGM). Once aliquoted, the samples were supplemented with the NE at different concentrations (0, 6 and 12 mM), with or without induced oxidative stress (100 μM Fe2+/ascorbate). The samples were evaluated after 0, 2 and 4 h of incubation at 37 °C. Motility (CASA), viability, mitochondrial membrane potential, acrosomal status, lipoperoxidation (C11 BODIPY 581/591), intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and DNA status (SCSA®) were assessed. After 2 and 4 h of incubation, the NE were able to prevent the deleterious effects of oxidative stress, thus improving total and progression motility (P ˂0.05). Moreover, the highest concentration tested (12 mM) improved almost every sperm kinematic variable (P ˂0.05) and preserved sperm viability in samples subjected to oxidative stress. In addition, 12 mM of NE protected the acrosomes integrity, maintained and protected mitochondrial activity, prevented sperm lipoperoxidation and reduced ROS production (P ˂0.05) in samples subjected to oxidative stress. This work indicates for the first time that vitamin E formulated in NE could be a new approach against sperm oxidative damage. This could be highly relevant for sperm physiology preservation in the context of assisted reproduction techniques.

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