Who knew that male fertility depends on the architecture of the sperm? A study by the University reports that certain omega 3 fatty acids are needed to build an arch that turns a round, premature sperm into a super swimmer with a pointed head with an extra-long tail.
“Normal sperm contain a complex structure called an acrosome, which is critically important in fertilization because it provides space, organizes and concentrates many enzymes that use sperm to penetrate the egg,”. The study shows for the first time that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is important in the melting of the standard blocks of the acrosome together. “Without DHA, this vital structure is not formed, and sperm do not work. Men concerned about their fertility may wonder what foods contain DHA. Sea fish, such as salmon or tuna, are excellent sources of this omega-3 fatty acid.
Scientists became intrigued with the role of DHA in creating healthy sperm when they experimented with knockout mice lacking the gene important for its synthesis. “We looked at the amount of sperm, shape and mobility, and checked the rate of success of reproduction. Male mice, lacking DHA, were mostly infertile. But when DHA was introduced into mice feed, fertility was fully restored. “It was very amazing. When we fed DHA mice, all these pathologies were prevented.
Scientists then used confocal laser scanning (3D) microscopy to look at the subtle parts of the tissue at the advanced stages of sperm development. By labeling the enzymes with fluorescence they could track their location in the cell.
“they can able to saw that the acrosome is built when small bubbles containing enzymes are combined together in a complex. But that merger does not happen without DHA,
In the absence of DHA, vesicles are formed, but they do not combine to make an arch that is so important in the structure of the sperm, the role of this omega-3 fatty acid game in membrane fusion is particularly exciting. Because DHA is replete with certain tissues, including the brain and retina, as well as the testicles, scientists believe that their findings could also affect research on brain function and vision.
“It is logical to hypothesize that DHA is involved in the fusion of the vesicle elsewhere in the body, and because the brain contains most of it, I wonder if deficiencies could play a role, for example, in the development of dementia. Any connection between neurons in the brain involves the fusion of the vesicle, “he noted.