Author(s): Roblero L, Guadarrama A, Lopez T, ZegersHochschild F
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Abstract The objective of this study is to provide additional information on the effect of copper ion (Cu2+) in preventing pregnancy. Human spermatozoa, selected by the swim-up method, were incubated for 0, 5 or 24 h in the presence of 10 ng, 1 microgram, 10 micrograms or 100 micrograms of Cu2+ mL-1 in BWW culture medium, and then evaluated in terms of their motility, viability, acrosome reaction (AR) and the capacity to penetrate zona-free hamster eggs. AR and penetration in zona-free hamster eggs were assessed at 5 h of incubation. Motility, viability and AR in sperm incubated for 5 h were significantly affected by Cu2+ at a concentration of 100 micrograms mL-1, but not at the lower concentrations. Incubation for 24 h did not affect motility and viability of sperm incubated in the presence of concentrations of Cu2+ ranging from 10 ng mL-1 to 10 micrograms mL-1, but a concentration of 100 micrograms mL-1 caused a significant decrease in both parameters. In contrast, the penetration rate of zona-free hamster oocytes significantly decreased compared with that of controls, when only sperm were incubated in the presence of concentrations of Cu2+ ranging from 10 ng mL-1 to 10 micrograms mL-1, and no penetration was observed in the presence of 100 micrograms mL-1 of Cu2+ . When only oocytes were exposed to Cu2+, the penetration rate dropped to 50\% of that of the controls. Finally, when both gametes were exposed to Cu2+ before co-incubation, the penetration rate fell to zero for every concentration tested. Results showed that copper, at concentrations similar to those released from intrauterine devices (IUD), affects the fertilizing capacity of human gametes in vitro and interferes with the sperm-oocyte interaction leading to fertilization. These effects suggest that the principle action of Cu2+ released from Cu-IUD is to act as a preconception contraceptive agent when delivered in endometrial and oviducal fluids.
This article was published in Reprod Fertil Dev
and referenced in Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology