Conclusions

It appears that the metabolic strategy of sperm is similar to that of muscle cells in that (1) it depends on a high rate of glycolysis and low utilization of the Krebs cycle to provide ATP for motility; and (2) the hexose monophosphate shunt is almost exclusively devoted to produce NADPH to maintain functional the glutathione reductase/ glutathione peroxidase protective system for reduction of hydrogen peroxide and lipid hydroperoxides. Sperm's metabolic strategy, therefore, is both geared to maintain high rates of ATP production/utilization for motility and to ensure that the spermatozoon destined to fertilize the egg can propel itself to reach the site of fertilization while avoiding the omnipresent threat of free radical-induced membrane and DNA damage that would interfere with sperm's primary function: to activate the oocyte and deliver the intact DNA to the oocyte for embryo and fetal development.

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