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Chlamydia Trachomatis-induced Death Of Human Spermatozoa Is Caused Primarily By Lipopolysaccharide.

S. Hosseinzadeh, A. Pacey, A. Eley
Published 2003 · Biology, Medicine

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Elementary bodies (EBs) of Chlamydia trachomatis serovar E are more toxic to sperm than those from serovar LGV. In this study, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was prepared from the EBs of both serovars and incubated with human spermatozoa at concentrations that matched the LPS concentration of EBs. The effects of EBs and LPS on sperm motility, viability and acrosomal status were then determined. Sperm motility was measured by computer-assisted sperm analysis and the hypo-osmotic swelling test was used to determine the proportion of dead cells. Acrosomal status was examined using a standard mAb assay. Over a 6 h incubation, LPS from both serovars resulted in a marked reduction in sperm motility (and a concomitant increase in the proportion of dead spermatozoa) in a manner similar to that seen in response to EBs of serovar E. In addition, when sperm were incubated with a range of doses of EBs and LPS, probit analysis revealed that the greater spermicidal effects of EBs from serovar E (when compared with serovar LGV) were not observed when sperm were incubated with LPS from the two serovars. This suggests that the more potent effect of EBs of serovar E cannot be explained entirely by differences in the composition of LPS. Interestingly, Escherichia coli LPS was required in doses 500 times more concentrated than chlamydial LPS in order to kill a similar proportion of sperm, suggesting that bacterial LPSs may differ in their spermicidal properties. However, that chlamydial LPS was spermicidal was demonstrated by the use of polymyxin B (a polycationic antibiotic known to neutralize LPS effects), confirming that the effects observed were primarily a result of LPS activity.
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