Synchrotron radiation soft X-ray microscopy and low energy X-ray fluorescence to reveal elemental changes in spermatozoa treated with photobiomodulation therapy
Male infertility is a worldwide clinical issue that increases the number of couples resorting to assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) to achieve pregnancy. Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) is a promising technique that can biostimulate cells and tissues and it is currently successfully employed to enhance the sperm motility in vitro. Nevertheless, its use has been so far restricted to the research field. In the present work, we exploited two PBMT protocols at an 800 nm wavelength on sperm derived from infertile individuals, detecting an increase in sperm motility 1 hour after irradiation. Moreover, in order to add new information about the molecular effect of PBMT, the content of some light elements was evaluated using high resolution X-ray fluorescence imaging. Interestingly, an increase in Na content was detected in the irradiated samples, possibly suggesting a role of this element in sperm motility; indeed, a low Na content was previously correlated with a poor sperm quality, low semen volume, and modest fertilization rate. Amplifying the knowledge of PBMT in the ART field will expedite the translational potentiality of the PBMT use in clinical settings.