Presence and function of dopamine transporter (dat) in stallion sperm: Dopamine modulates sperm motility and acrosomal integrity

Javier A. Urra, Franz Villaroel-Espíndola, Alejra A. Covarrubias, Joan Enric Rodríguez-Gil, Alfredo Ramrez-Reveco, Ilona I. Concha

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11 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Urra et al. Dopamine is a catecholamine with multiple physiological functions, playing a key role in nervous system; however its participation in reproductive processes and sperm physiology is controversial. High dopamine concentrations have been reported in different portions of the feminine and masculine reproductive tract, although the role fulfilled by this catecholamine in reproductive physiology is as yet unknown. We have previously shown that dopamine type 2 receptor is functional in boar sperm, suggesting that dopamine acts as a physiological modulator of sperm viability, capacitation and motility. In the present study, using immunodetection methods, we revealed the presence of several proteins important for the dopamine uptake and signalling in mammalian sperm, specifically monoamine transporters as dopamine (DAT), serotonin (SERT) and norepinephrine (NET) transporters in equine sperm. We also demonstrated for the first time in equine sperm a functional dopamine transporter using 4-[4-(Dimethylamino)styryl]-N-methylpyridinium iodide (ASP+), as substrate. In addition, we also showed that dopamine (1 mM) treatment in vitro , does not affect sperm viability but decreases total and progressive sperm motility. This effect is reversed by blocking the dopamine transporter with the selective inhibitor vanoxerine (GBR12909) and non-selective inhibitors of dopamine reuptake such as nomifensine and bupropion. The effect of dopamine in sperm physiology was evaluated and we demonstrated that acrosome integrity and thyrosine phosphorylation in equine sperm is significantly reduced at high concentrations of this catecholamine. In summary, our results revealed the presence of monoamine transporter DAT, NET and SERT in equine sperm, and that the dopamine uptake by DAT can regulate sperm function, specifically acrosomal integrity and sperm motility.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere112834
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2014


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