Lactate dehydrogenase activity of rat epididymis and spermatozoa: Effect of constant light

Abstract

During its passage through the epididymis, the gamete undergoes a process of “maturation” leading to the acquisition of its fertilizing ability. The epididymis displays regional variations in the morphology and metabolic properties of its epithelium which are relevant for the progressive development of mature sperm characteristics. The epididymis has spontaneous peristaltic contractions and receives sympathetic innervation that is modulated by melatonin, a hormone synthesized and released by the pineal gland. Constant lighting disrupts melatonin synthesis and secretion. We have studied the effect of constant light on lactate dehydrogenase (LDH; EC 1.1.1.27) and its isozyme C4 activities and protein content in whole epididymis, epididymal tissue and in spermatozoa from caput and cauda segments. Animals were exposed from birth to an illumination schedule of 14 h light: 10 h dark (group L:D). At 60 days of age one group of animals was submitted to constant light over 50 days (group L:L). In order to test the fertilizing ability, the rats of each group were mated with soliciting estrous females. The percentage of pregnancies in females mated with males maintained in L:L was remarkably lower than those in females mated with males maintained in the L:D photoperiod (44% and 88% respectively). Constant light increased protein concentration and LDH activity in caput as well as in cauda of total epididymis. On the contrary, in epididymal tissue, the protein content decreased in both epididymal sections compared with controls. When enzymatic activity was expressed in Units per spermatozoa, constant light induced a significant reduction of total LDH and LDHC4 in caput and cauda spermatozoa while LDH activity of epididymal tissue was not affected. In spite of the decrease in LDH per sperm cell when rats were exposed to constant light, in total epididymis (epididymis tissue plus sperm cells content) and in spermatozoa, values of enzyme activities expressed per weight unit were higher than those of controls. This is explained by the increase in the amount of stored spermatozoa, both in caput and cauda, produced by exposure of animals to constant light.

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Published
2009-12-28
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How to Cite
Ponce, R., Carriazo, C., & Vermouth, N. (2009). Lactate dehydrogenase activity of rat epididymis and spermatozoa: Effect of constant light. European Journal of Histochemistry, 45(2), 141-51. https://doi.org/10.4081/1624