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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Carbonic anhydrase in mouse testis and epididymis; transfer of isozyme IV to spermatozoa during passage

Ekstedt E, Holm L, Ridderstrale Y


Spermatozoa are subjected to major changes as they pass through the epididymal duct. The aim of the present study was to describe the distribution of carbonic anhydrase (CA) in the mouse testis and epididymis using a histochemical technique showing total catalytic activity, in combination with immunohistochemistry for the two important isoforms CAs II and IV. By comparing normal mice with CA II-deficient mice, we were able to study membrane-bound CA without influence from the ubiquitous cytoplasmic CA II. Spermatozoa, when studied in both the scanning electron and light microscope, were found to pickup membrane-bound CA IV during their passage through the epididymal duct. The transfer appeared to take place in the proximal part of the corpus, where the apical membrane and vesicles of principal cells were richly supplied with CA IV. In addition to CA IV, another membrane-bound isozyme was located in basolateral membranes of principal cells. Cytoplasmic CA II was found in varying amounts in apical/narrow cells and principal cells of the corpus in control animals. The significance of CA for pH-regulating processes vital for sperm storage and motility is discussed. A function in HCO3- transport during sperm capacitation at fertilization is suggested for the CA IV found in spermatozoa

Published in

Journal of Molecular Histology
2004, Volume: 35, number: 2, pages: 167-173