Spermatogenesis, the maturation of spermatozoa and their concentration and storage in the seminiferous vessels are associated with considerable fluid secretion or absorption in the male reproductive tract. These fluid movements are in total agreement with the presence of multiple aquaporin (AQP) water channel proteins in germ cells and other tissues within the male reproductive tract. A series of functions of prime importance have already been hypothesized for aquaporins in the physiology of male reproduction. Aquaporins could be involved in the early stages of spermatogenesis, in the secretion of tubular liquid and in the concentration and storage of spermatozoa in the epididymis. In the male reproductive tract, alterations in the expression and functionality and/or regulation of aquaporins have already been demonstrated to be at the basis of forms of male infertility. Indeed, rats with reduced reabsorption of seminiferous fluid in the efferent ducts have been shown to be sub-fertile or infertile. Functions have also been suggested in the fertilization process, where aquaporins may play a role in maintaining osmotic homeostasis in gametes during.-e fertilization. Aquaporins have also been suggested to mediate water movement into antral follicles and to be the pathway for transtrophectodermal water movement during cavitation. Aquaporins are the subject of considerable technological interest for cryopreservation used in medically assisted procreation, as they could be the molecular pathway by which water and/or solutes move across the plasma membrane during the process of freezing/thawing gametes and embryos. Indeed, artificial expression of AQP3 has been showed to improve the survival of mouse oocytes after cryopreservation.
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|Titolo:||Possibile functional implications of aquaporin water channels in reproductive physiology and medically assisted procreation|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2003|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|