Polyunsaturated fatty acids of germ cell membranes, glutathione and blutathione-dependent enzyme-PHGPx: From basic to clinic

A. Lenzi, L. Gandini, F. Lombardo, M. Picardo, V. Maresca, E. Panfili, F. Tramer, C. Boitani, F. Dondero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The lipid metabolism in sperm cells is important both for energy production and for cell structure. A special composition of membrane phospholipids, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and the different composition of sperm and immature germ cell membrane are described and discussed. Testis germ cells as well as epididymal maturing spermatozoa are endowed with enzymatic and non-enzymatic scavenger systems to prevent lipoperoxidative damage. Catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione-dependent oxidoreductases are present in variable amounts in the different developmental stages. Phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPx) activity and roles in caput and cauda epididymal sperm cells are discussed. Also seminal plasma has a highly specialized scavenger system that defends the sperm membrane against lipoperoxidation and the degree of PUFA insaturation acts to achieve the same goal. Systemic predisposition and a number of pathologies can lead to an anti-oxidant/pro-oxidant disequilibrium. Scavengers, such as glutathione can be used to treat these cases as they can restore the physiological constitution of PUFA in the cell membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-304
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002



  • Immature germ cells
  • Lipoperoxidation
  • PHGPx
  • PUFA
  • ROS
  • Spermatozoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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