Journal Article

Presence of membrane and soluble forms of Fas ligand and of matrilysin (MMP-7) activity in normal and abnormal human semen

A. Riccioli, V.Dal Secco, P.De Cesaris, D. Starace, L. Gandini, A. Lenzi, F. Dondero, F. Padula, A. Filippini and E. Ziparo

in Human Reproduction

Published on behalf of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Volume 20, issue 10, pages 2814-2820
Published in print October 2005 | ISSN: 0268-1161
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2350 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dei149
Presence of membrane and soluble forms of Fas ligand and of matrilysin (MMP-7) activity in normal and abnormal human semen

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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to shed some light on the role of the Fas system in human semen, by investigating whether there is an association between the expression of the molecules regulating the Fas system [membrane-bound Fas ligand (mFasL), soluble Fas ligand (sFasL) and matrilysin, the metalloprotease cleaving mFasL to sFasL] and sperm parameters. METHODS: We investigated, by flow cytometric analysis, the presence of FasL on spermatozoa from normozoospermic and teratozoospermic subjects and, by western blot, the presence of sFasL and matrilysin in the seminal plasma of the same samples as well as on samples from azoospermic subjects. The enzymatic activity of matrilysin was examined by gel zymography. RESULTS: We observed that sperm cells expressed mFasL in 22% of normozoospermic men, whereas it was absent from spermatozoa from teratozoospermic patients. Higher levels of sFasL and augmented enzymatic activity of matrilysin were found in azoospermic samples. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of mFasL on sperm from normozoospermic men and its absence in pathological samples emphasize the role of the Fas system in human semen. Moreover, the presence of both sFasL and matrilysin in seminal plasma implies a fine regulation of the function of the Fas system and, consequently, of the apoptotic process in the human genital tract.

Keywords: apoptosis; Fas system; matrilysin; spermatozoa

Journal Article.  5467 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Reproductive Medicine

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