Lipid and Antioxidant Composition of Chicken Semen and its Susceptibility to Peroxidation

Peter F. Surai, Silvia Cerolini, Graham J. Wishart, Brian K. Speake, Ray C. Noble, Nick H.C. Sparks

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51 Citations (Scopus)


The antioxidant composition of the chicken seminal plasma and spermatozoa and the effect of sperm storage on fatty acid composition of the phospholipid fraction were investigated. Chicken semen displayed ' range of antioxidants including vitamin E, ascorbic acid, glutathione , superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Ascorbic acid was almost equally distributed between seminal plasma and spermatozoa. In contrast, reduced glutathione and vitamin E were located mainly in the spermatozoa. The main form of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) was Se-dependent GSH-Px, which was found in both the seminal plasma and the spermatozoa. On the other hand, superoxide dismutase (SOD) was mainly located (67%) in the spermatozoa. Cu,Zn-SOD was found only in seminal plasma but both forms of the enzyme (Cu,Zn-SOD and Mn-SOD) were found in spermatozoa. The toxic effect of H 2O 2 and cumene hydroperoxide on sperm motility was determined. Sperm incubation for 12 hours at 20°C was associated with a significant decrease in the proportion of 22:4n-6 in the phospholipid fraction. The inclusion of Fe 2+ in the incubation medium at 37°C further increased the rate of lipid peroxidation as indicated by the significant decrease in the proportion of 20:4n-6, 22:4n-6, 22:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 in the phospholipid. Free radical-trapping activity of seminal plasma was measured. Possible mechanisms involved in sperm antioxidant protection are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalAvian and Poultry Biology Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Dec 1998


  • Antioxidants
  • Chicken
  • Glutathione peroxidase
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Spermatozoa
  • Superoxide dismutase
  • Vitamin E


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