Osmotic stress stimulates generation of superoxide anion by spermatozoa in horses

L. Burnaugh, B. A. Ball, K. Sabeur, A. D. Thomas, Stuart A Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine the interplay between osmotic and oxidative stress as well as to determine mechanisms by which osmotic stress increases superoxide generation in spermatozoa of horses. Superoxide production, as measured by dihydroethidium (DHE), increased when spermatozoa of horses were incubated under either hyperosmotic or hyposmotic conditions. This increase in superoxide production was inhibited by the MAP kinase p38 inhibitor, SB203580, and by the superoxide scavenger, tiron. Incubation of spermatozoa under hyperosmotic conditions increased overall protein tyrosine phosphorylation as measured by western blotting techniques; however, a similar increase was not detected when spermatozoa were incubated under hyposmotic conditions. The general protein kinase C (PKC) and protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) inhibitor staurosporine inhibited (P < 0.05) tyrosine phosphorylation in samples from cells under hyperosmotic conditions. In addition, the NADPH oxidase inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) also inhibited (P < 0.05) protein tyrosine phosphorylation in cells under hyperosmotic conditions. In summary, these data indicate that incubation of equine spermatozoa under both hyposmotic and hyperosmotic conditions can increase superoxide anion generation. Under hyperosmotic conditions, this increased generation of superoxide anion was accompanied by increased protein tyrosine phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Dihydroethidium
  • Equine
  • Horse
  • Osmotic stress
  • Spermatozoa
  • Superoxide anion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Animals
  • Endocrinology


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