Metabolite Profiling of Pig Seminal Plasma Identifies Potential Biomarkers for Sperm Resilience to Liquid Preservation

Mateo-Otero, YentelFernández-López, PolRibas-Maynou, JordiRoca, JordiMiró, JordiYeste, MarcBarranco, Isabel. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 9:669974 (2021)  DIGITAL CSIC

Metabolomic approaches allow the study of downstream gene expression events since metabolites are considered as the products of cell signaling pathways. For this reason, many studies in humans have already been conducted to determine the influence of the metabolites present in seminal plasma (SP) on sperm physiology, and to identify putative biomarkers. However, in livestock species, these relationships are yet to be uncovered. Thus, the present study aimed to explore: (i) if concentrations of metabolites in pig SP are related to sperm quality and functionality, and (ii) if they could predict the sperm resilience to liquid storage at 17 C. To this end, 28 ejaculates were individually collected and split into three aliquots: one was used for SP analysis through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy; another served for the evaluation of sperm concentration and morphology; and the last one was utilized to determine sperm functionality parameters using computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) and flow cytometry after 0 h and 72 h of liquid-storage at 17 C. NMR analysis allowed the identification and quantification of 23 metabolites present in pig SP which, except for fumarate, were not observed to follow a breed-dependent behavior. Moreover, specific relationships between metabolites and sperm variables were identified: (i) glutamate, methanol, trimethylamine N-oxide, carnitine, and isoleucine were seen to be related to some sperm quality and functionality parameters evaluated immediately after semen collection; (ii) leucine, hypotaurine, carnitine and isoleucine were found to be associated to the sperm ability to withstand liquid storage; and (iii) Bayesian multiple regression models allowed the identification of metabolite patterns for specific sperm parameters at both 0 h and 72 h. The identification of these relationships opens up the possibility of further investigating these metabolites as potential sperm functional biomarkers.