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Identification of capacitation in boar spermatozoa by chlortetracycline staining

Theriogenology 45(2): 373-381
Identification of capacitation in boar spermatozoa by chlortetracycline staining
The functional status of boar spermatozoa undergoing capacitation in vitro was investigated. Two fluorescent stains were used: chlortetracycline (CTC) and a FITC-conjugated lectin (FITC-PSA). The first has been used for the direct identification of the capacitated boar spermatozoa, while the second, based on the identification of capacitated spermatozoa by their ability to undergo zona-induced acrosome reaction (AR), was used to confirm and validate the CTC assay in this species. Spermatozoa obtained from 5 different boars was washed and incubated under capacitating conditions. Aliquots of spermatozoa were collected at 0, 90 and 180 min of incubation and then stained with CTC or FITC-PSA. After CTC staining, 3 different fluorescent patterns were observed: Pattern A with the fluorescence uniformly distributed on the sperm head, Pattern B with the fluorescence concentrated in the post-acrosomial region, and Pattern C with the fluorescence concentrated in the acrosomial region, The percentage of spermatozoa displaying fluorescent Pattern A decreased throughout the incubation while that of spermatozoa with Pattern C showed a concomitant progressive increase. Pattern B fluorescence remained unchanged throughout the maturation period. Exposure to zonae pellucidae (ZP) brought back the levels of Pattern C fluorescence to basal values. Since only the capacitated spermatozoa are believed to react to ZP, this observation together with the rising incidence of Pattern C throughout maturation suggests that fluorescence in the acrosomial region identifies capacitated spermatozoa. The analysis of acrosome integrity carried out with FITC-PSA showed that the proportion of zona-induced AR was nearly the same as that of spermatozoa displaying Pattern C, thus confirming that CTC staining is suitable for the detection of boar sperm capacitation. In the second part of this study, CTC was used to investigate the effects of sperm origin and storage on the capacitation process. Our finding demonstrates that capacitation kinetics show wide variations in sperm samples derived from different boars- moreover, capacitation is also affected by sperm storage. While fresh semen showed a progressive increase in capacitated spermatozoa, ranging from low levels at the beginning of the culture to 46 % at the end of incubation, the refrigerated semen had a relatively high percentage of capacitated spermatozoa at the beginning of culture, but this proportion increased only slightly during the following 90 to 180 min of treatment. These data indicate that CTC can be used to identify capacitated boar spermatozoa, and, because of its rapid and easy execution, it can be used routinely to identify the optimal capacitation time for different sperm samples.

Accession: 002863359

PMID: 16727801

DOI: 10.1016/0093-691x(96)81099-5

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