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Seminal transferrin, a potential human testis biomarker

Pharmacy & Pharmacology International Journal
Raspo Esteban,1-4 Brunori Magalí,1,2 Brufman Adriana1-3


Introduction: Seminal plasma (SP) is a sperm function modulator, for this reason, it is necessary to adequately characterize its molecular composition. Iron (Ir) plays an important role in spermatogenesis. Transferrin (Tf), the cellular membrane receptor for transferrin and ferritin (FN), respectively, are involved in the transport, cellular uptake, and storage of Ir. The metabolic pathways of Ir are still unknown in human testis.
Objectives: The aim of the work was to study biochemical components such as total proteins (TP), Ir, FN and Tf in SP of young individuals, and to establish reference values for our laboratory. These values were then correlated to semen parameters and some sperm functional tests in order to understand the physiology of Ir in the testis.
Materials and methods: Two hundred and fifteen semen and serum samples were studied, and the concentration of Tf, Ir, TP and FN was determined in both fluids. A basic semen analysis and sperm vitality tests were performed. Statistical analysis by the Spearman coefficient (r) for testicular transferrin (TfT) versus each of the quantitative variables of the basic semen analysis was used.
Results and conclusions: It was observed that TfT concentration has a direct relationship with the sperm concentration (r=0.3872, p-value=0.0070, p<0.01) the total sperm count (r=0.515; p-value=0.0008, p<0.01) and to a lesser extent with the percentage of progressive motile sperm (r=0.3721; p-value=0.0139, p<0.05). No correlation with morphology was found. The study of possible biomarkers, such as TfT, would contribute to the knowledge of physiological mechanisms of sperm function, enabling an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.


seminal plasma, transferrin, sperm cell, human infertility, biomarker, human testis