Although being a crucial step for Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART) success, to date sperm selection is based only on morphology, motility and concentration characteristics. Considering the many possible alterations, there is a great need for analytical approaches allowing more effective sperm selections. The use of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) may represent an interesting possibility, being able to reveal many macromolecular changes in a single measurement in a nondestructive way. As a proof of concept, in this observational study, we used a FTIR approach to reveal features related to sperm quality and chemical changes promoted by in vitro capacitation. We found indication that α-helix content is increased in capacitated sperm, while high percentages of the β-structures seem to correlate to poor-quality spermatozoa. The most interesting observation was related to the lipid composition, when measured as CH2 /CH3 vibrations (ratio 2853/2870), which resulted in being strongly influenced by capacitation and well correlated with sperm motility. Interestingly, this ratio is higher than 1 in infertile samples, suggesting that motility is related to sperm membranes stiffness and lipid composition. Although further analyses are requested, our results support the concept that FTIR can be proposed as a new smart diagnostic tool for semen quality assessment in ART.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry