52. improving reproductive success: manipulating spermatozoa motility with red light

Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Michael Berns

Primary Student
Name: Kay Wen Chow
Email: k8chow@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-534-4194
Grad Year: 2017

Spermatozoa swimming speed heavily influences the successful fertilization of oocytes. The conservation of critically endangered animals depends on the development of new reproductive techniques that work on a variety of species. Current methods of assisted reproduction have been optimized for human use but are not always translatable to the rest of the animal kingdom due to complex variations in reproductive biology. Such methods include administration of drugs and direct injection of spermatozoa into the oocyte, both of which require careful timing and thorough knowledge of the reproductive cycle. One solution to improve reproductive success is to increase the chance of contact with the oocyte in vitro by increasing the curvilinear velocity (VCL) of spermatozoa. In this study, VCL is improved using 633 nm red light irradiation at a dose of 31 mW/cm2. Red light irradiation is believed to increase cytochrome c oxidase activity in the mitochondria, increasing ATP production. One concern with this method is the potential production of ROS induced by laser light irradiation, which can cause DNA damage. To validate the safety of this method as a reproductive technique, oxidative DNA damage was assessed using immunofluorescent staining and ELISA. It was concluded that exposure to red light improved VCL by as much as 47% without causing oxidative DNA damage. The safety and efficacy of this method has potential for the development of novel fertility treatments.

Industry Application Area(s)
Electronics/Photonics | Life Sciences/Medical Devices & Instruments

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