1H NMR to investigate metabolism and energy supply in rhesus macaque sperm

Ching Yu Lin, Pei hsuan Hung, Catherine A. VandeVoort, Marion G. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Sperm ATP is derived primarily from either glycolysis or mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. In the present studies, 1H NMR spectroscopy was used to characterize the metabolite profile in primate sperm treated either with alpha-chlorohydrin (ACH), a known inhibitor of sperm glycolysis or pentachlorophenol (PCP), an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation. Sperm were collected from monkeys in the fall and spring, washed and incubated with either the media control, ACH (0.5 mM) or PCP (50 uM). Using principal components analysis, PC1 scores plot indicated that the greatest level of variance was found between fall and spring samples and not chemical-treated samples. However, PC4 scores plot did show a consistent effect of ACH treatment. From the PC1 loadings plot, metabolites contributing to the seasonal differences were higher levels of formate in the fall and higher levels of carnitine and acetylcarnitine in the spring as well as possible differences in lipoprotein content. The PC4 loadings plot indicated that ACH treatment decreased lactate and ATP consistent with inhibition of glycolysis. Carnitine also was decreased and acetylcarnitine increased although the latter was not statistically significant. With PCP-treated sperm, no difference between control and treated samples could be discerned suggesting either that primate sperm are insensitive to uncoupling agents or that glycolysis played the more important role in maintaining sperm ATP levels. Overall, NMR studies may prove useful in the development of metabolomic markers that signal sperm metabolic impairments and have the potential to provide useful biomarkers for reproductive health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha-chlorohydrin
  • Energy supply
  • Metabolomics
  • NMR
  • Pentachlorophenol
  • Rhesus macaque
  • Sperm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Medicine(all)


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