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A cost for high levels of sperm competition in rodents: Increased sperm DNA fragmentation

AuthorsDelbarco-Trillo, Javier; García-Álvarez, Olga; Soler, Ana J. ; Tourmente, Maximiliano ; Garde, José Julián ; Roldán, Eduardo R. S.
KeywordsSperm competition
Sperm chromatin structure assay
Oxidative stress
Sperm DNA fragmentation
Issue Date16-Mar-2016
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationProceedings of the Royal Society of London - B 283(1826): 20152708 (2016)
AbstractSpermcompetition, a prevalent evolutionary process inwhich the spermatozoa of two or more males compete for the fertilization of the same ovum, leads to morphological and physiological adaptations, including increases in energetic metabolism that may serve to propel sperm faster but that may have negative effects onDNA integrity. SpermDNA damage is associated with reduced rates of fertilization, embryo and fetal loss, offspring mortality, and mutations leading to genetic disease. We tested whether high levels of sperm competition affect sperm DNA integrity. We evaluated sperm DNA integrity in 18 species of rodents that differ in their levels of spermcompetition using the spermchromatin structure assay. DNA integrity was assessed upon sperm collection, in response to incubation under capacitating or non-capacitating conditions, and after exposure to physical and chemical stressors. Sperm DNA was very resistant to physical and chemical stressors, whereas incubation in noncapacitating and capacitating conditions resulted in only a small increase in spermDNA damage. Importantly, levels of spermcompetition were positively associated with sperm DNA fragmentation across rodent species. This is the first evidence showing that high levels of sperm competition lead to an important cost in the form of increased sperm DNA damage.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2708
issn: 1471-2954
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