Effects of combined antioxidant supplementation on human sperm motility and morphology during sperm manipulation in vitro

Combined treatment with taurine, cysteine, and glutathione improves the quality of human sperm by decreasing the rate of reduction in sperm motility during in vitro manipulation.

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Jung Im Yun, Ph.D., Seung Pyo Gong, Ph.D., Young Han Song, Ph.D., Seung Tae Lee, Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 2, Pages 373-378, August 2013



To evaluate the effect of antioxidant combinations on human sperm motility and morphologic normality during preparation and in vitro incubation to improve sperm quality for assisted reproductive technology (ART).


Prospective study.




Six fertile males, 21 to 25 years of age, after 3 days of sexual abstinence.


Sperm retrieved from patients with normal fertility prepared and incubated in vitro in medium supplemented with taurine, cysteine, and/or glutathione.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Motility indices, including motility (MOT), average path velocity (VAP), curvilinear velocity (VCL), straight-line velocity (VSL), and morphologic normality.


Taurine supplementation during sperm preparation had no significant effects on motility or morphologic normality. However, when sperm was incubated for 24 hours under taurine-supplemented conditions, the rates of reduction in MOT, VAP, VCL, and VSL were statistically significantly decreased compared with taurine-free conditions. Morphologic normality was maintained, regardless of taurine treatment. The optimal taurine concentration for improving sperm motility and morphologic normality during preparation and in vitro incubation was 1 mM. Subsequently, combined treatment with 1 mM taurine, 1 mM cysteine, and 1 mM glutathione induced statistically significant synergistic effects on MOT, VAP, VCL, and VSL without any alteration of morphologic normality.


Combined treatment with taurine, cysteine, and glutathione statistically significantly ameliorated the reduction in sperm motility during in vitro manipulation of human sperm.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)00511-6/fulltext

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Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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