Evaluation of Enkephalin-Degrading Enzymes in Sperm from
The first two authors equally contributed to this work.
The aim of this study was to investigate two enkephalin-degrading enzymes, aminopeptidase N (APN/ CD13) and endopeptidase (NEP/CD10), gene and protein expression levels in sperm samples of fertile and heroin- addicted men, and the correlation between their expressions and semen quality.
Materials and Methods
In this case-controlled study, semen was collected from 24 normozoospermic healthy (as a control group) and 24 heroin-addicted men donors (as case or addiction group). Sperm cells isolated by Cook Medical gradient (40-80%) and followed up by swim-up techniques were used for real-time quantitative polymer- ase chain reaction (qPCR) and flow cytometry techniques to assess APN/CD13 and NEP/CD10 genes and proteins subsequently. Semen parameters were analyzed by computer-assisted sperm analysis.
The findings revealed that there were significant differences in sperm total motility (41.07 ± 3.63 vs. 63.03 ± 3.31 %, P=0.0001), progressive motility (35.21 ± 2.64 vs. 20.93 ± 3.22%, P=0.001) and viability (69.9 ± 4.69 vs. 86.81 ± 1.26 %, P=0.002) in the addicted group vs. control ones. APN and NEP gene expression levels in the addicted group decreased compared with the control ones (1.00 ± 0.67 vs. 0.36 ± 0.13, P= 0.008 and 1.07 ± 0.11 vs. 0.52 ± 0.12 0.002, respectively). Flow cytometry analysis showed that the average percent of APN/CD13 in heroin consumers significantly decreased compared with the healthy ones, while NEP/CD10 rate between two groups was similar. We also observed that duration of drug dependence is correlated with sperm viability (r=-0.627, P=0.016) and motility (r=-0.410, P=0.05), NEP (r=-0.434, P= 0.049), and APN (r=-0.641, P=0.002) gene expression levels.
We conclude that semen quality and enkephalin-degrading enzymes were altered in heroin-addicted men. other confirming the internal validity of our estimates.