Background: Sperm motility is an essential factor in ensuring the fertility of males. Sperm mitochondria play a significant role in the generation of energy as well as the metabolism of sperm. The mitochondria nucleolus is essential for several sperm activities, such as sperm capping, hyperactivation, acrosome reactions and oocyte fusion. Therefore, as the mitochondria are the basic regulators of sperm motility, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) is used to assess the mitochondrial activity and integrity of sperm. This is evaluated by examination of MMP, which may be achieved by using fluorescent dyes like the JC-1 probe.
Objectives: To examine the correlation between MMP and sperm motility.
Materials and methods: This study included semen samples of 60 males that were separated into two groups: 30 normomozoospermic and 30 asthenozoospermic. The samples were collected in the infertility clinic at the High Institute for Infertility Diagnosis and Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Al-Nahrain University and Um Al-Banin Center for management and in vitro fertilization. The collected samples were processed for seminal fluid analysis and evaluated according to the recommendations of WHO 2021 using an MMP-Assay kit with JC-1 dye and examined by fluorescent microscope for evaluation.
Results: A positive significant correlation between subjects’ sperms motility percentage and active red-fluorescence MMP intensity (Red MMP) (P-value < 0.05, r = 0.406; P-value = 0.008) The MMP or activity plays an essential role in sperm motility and male fertility. The red MMP values in subjects with normal sperm motility were 10.22 ± 1.54 and showed a relatively higher reading in comparison to those readings of subjects group with low sperms motility (4.70 ± 0.91). Subjects with normal sperm motility showed a high MMP intensity (P-value = 0.004).
Conclusions: Normal MMP is crucial for normal sperm motility. The sperm motility is proportionate to the MMP, or activity.