Annexin V binding to plasma membrane predicts the quality of human cryopreserved spermatozoa.

International journal of andrology

PubMedID: 15149469

Sion B, Janny L, Boucher D, Grizard G. Annexin V binding to plasma membrane predicts the quality of human cryopreserved spermatozoa. Int J Androl. 2004;27(2):108-14.
Cryopreservation-induced stress may result in membrane injury with consequent decrease of sperm motility and fertilizing capacity. This study has investigated the relationship between human spermatozoa tolerance to cryopreservation and the loss of plasma membrane asymmetry, especially translocation of phosphatidylserine (PS) from the inner to the outer leaflet. The prospective study was performed on semen samples from 31 men. Conventional characteristics of 20 semen were analysed, before and after cryopreservation as well as externalization of PS assessed by annexin V-staining in combination with the propidium iodide which stains dead cells. The fertilizing capacity was evaluated by a zona free hamster egg penetration test in 11 freeze/thaw spermatozoa samples. The percentages of vital annexin V-negative and annexin V-positive spermatozoa in post-thaw samples were significantly lower than in pre-freeze ones (10 +/- 3 vs. 25 +/- 5% and 22 +/- 3 vs. 34 +/- 4% respectively), while the percentages of dead spermatozoa annexin V-negative and annexin V-positive had increased (42 +/- 4 vs. 23 +/- 4% and 23 +/- 4 vs. 16 +/- 2% respectively). The percentages of progressive and total motile spermatozoa were significantly correlated with the percentage of vital annexin V-negative spermatozoa before as well as after cryopreservation. Furthermore, recovery of motile spermatozoa after freeze/thaw was strongly correlated (p < 0.002) with the proportion of vital annexin V-negative spermatozoa in fresh semen. The percentage of penetration of zona-free hamster eggs was correlated (p < 0.02) with the percentage of live annexin V-negative cryopreserved spermatozoa capacitated for 3 h. These findings provide evidence that annexinV-binding staining in combination with PI brings additional information to predict the outcome of cryopreserved ejaculated sperm and may be used as a novel and reliable marker to study the freeze/thaw process.