A new study published in the Nature Communications journal has revealed the contributions of Albumin in strengthening the sperm to aid in fertilization.
What Is Albumin (Alb)?
Albumin is an abundant type of protein produced by the liver. The main function of Alb is to provide osmotic pressure in the blood vessels, nourish tissues, and aid in the transportation of hormones, drugs, calcium, and other substances throughout the body.
The normal range of Alb in the human body is 3.4-5.4 g/dL. Though this level can vary from laboratory to laboratory due to differences in measuring tools, high levels are caused due to acute infections, burns, and stress from surgery or a heart attack while low levels indicate malnutrition, liver disease, or an inflammatory disease.
How Does Albumin Increase Sperm Strength?
Voltage-gated proton channels are responsible for regulating oxidative burst, migration and proliferation, and other functions of vital organs.
These channels act as transmembrane proteins by activating an electrical signal in the body. The voltage-gated proton channel hHv1 is known to strengthen the ability of sperms to penetrate and fertilize an egg.
The research conducted by first author Ruiming Zhao of the department of physiology and biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine has shown that Alb helps in activating the voltage-gated proton channel hHv1.
She added that “We found that the interaction of Alb and hHv1 activates sperm when they leave semen and enter the female reproductive tract because Alb is low in semen and high in the reproductive tract. We now understand why albumin supplementation improves IVF,”
The study mainly involved studying cell biology in health and disease to establish the connection between Alb and hHv1 in generating sperm strength. The team’s demonstration has shown that Alb directly latches itself to hHv1 protons explaining why sperms get triggered while fertilizing an egg and how neutrophils are stimulated as an innate immune response.
Other Features of Alb and hHv1
Apart from increasing the viability of sperm cells, the study has also found that a combination of Alb and hHv1 can cause white blood cells to produce neutrophils.
Neutrophils produce and secrete inflammatory mediators to help the immune system fight against invasive foreign particles. However, an unstable increase or decrease in neutrophils can lead to several other diseases.
Other than that the Alb and hHv1 proton channel combinations are also studied by different researchers to enhance fertility, activation of changes in cellular function to aid in the proliferation of cancer cells, tissue damage during ischemic stroke, and hypertensive injury of the kidney.
Researchers also hope that Albumin and hHv1 interaction will be the beginning of both salutary and unfavorable roles in human physiology.