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Acrosomal enzymes of human spermatozoa before and after in vitro capacitation

Acrosomal enzymes of human spermatozoa before and after in vitro capacitation

Biology of Reproduction 28(5): 1032-1042

The effect of in vitro capacitation (events that occur before the acrosome reaction) on the acrosomal enzymes of human spermatozoa was determined. Capacitation of human spermatozoa was assessed by their ability to penetrate denuded hamster oocytes. The activities of a number of enzymes commonly associated with the sperm acrosome, including nonzymogen acrosin, proacrosin, inhibitor-bound acrosin, hyaluronidase, acid phosphatase, beta-glucuronidase, beta-glucosidase, beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase, beta-galactosidase and beta-N-acetylgalactosaminidase were assessed. With the exception of acid phosphatase, no alteration in enzyme activity occurred after 4 h of incubating the spermatozoa under capacitation conditions although gamete fusion took place. The acid phosphatase levels decreased twofold, presumably due to the loss of seminal (prostatic acid phosphatase that loosely adheres to spermatozoa. After 8 h of capacitation, a large decrease in sperm enzyme levels took place only in the case of hyaluronidase, although small decreases were also noted in total acrosin, proacrosin and inhibited acrosin. No new electrophoretically migrating forms of acrosin were observed. Decreases in total acrosin and proacrosin, but not in inhibited acrosin, also occurred when spermatozoa were incubated under noncapacitating conditions for 8 h, indicating that capacitation may specifically cause the release of some acrosin inhibitor from human spermatozoa. It is concluded that, with the possible exception of hyaluronidase, the in vitro capacitation of human spermatozoa does not cause a major change in its acrosomal enzyme content so that these hydrolases are fully present before the acrosome reaction takes place during gamete fusion. Serum albumin appears to protect against the loss of some of these enzymes since the activity of several glycosidases was significantly reduced when the spermatozoa were incubated for 8 h in human serum albumin-free medium.

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Accession: 004658706

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PMID: 6409171

DOI: 10.1095/biolreprod28.5.1032

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