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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Distribution of spermatozoa in the female reproductive tract of the domestic cat in relation to ovulation induced by natural mating

Chatdarong K, Lohachit C, Linde-Forsberg C


The purposes of this study were to demonstrate the localization of spermatozoa in the reproductive tract of female domestic cats before (30 min and 3 h after mating) and after ovulation (48 and 96 h after mating), and to evaluate the efficiency of two techniques for studying sperm distribution. Estrus was induced in twenty-four female cats using 100 IU eCG and the females were divided into four groups with six females per group. The same male cat was used for mating with all the females. One group of six females was mated once; the others were mated four times in 1 h. Ovariohysterectomy was performed at 30 min, 3 h, 48 h, and 96 h after mating and the excised reproductive tracts were divided into seven segments on each side: infundibulum, ampulla, isthmus, uterotubal junction (UTJ), cranial and caudal uterine horn, and uterine body. The vagina and the lumina of the segments from one side were flushed with 0.5 ml PBS. The flushed and the non-flushed segments from the contralateral side were then fixed in 3% neutral buffered formalin and processed for routine histology. The numbers of spermatozoa in the flushings and in 40 histological sections from each segment were counted. Before ovulation, the majority of spermatozoa was detected in the vagina and the uterine segments, whereas after ovulation, significantly higher numbers of spermatozoa. were present in the uterine tubal segments. The decreasing gradient in sperm numbers at 30 min and 3 h after mating between the vagina, the uterine segments, including the UTJ, and the uterine tubal segments indicated that the cervix and the UTJ served as barriers for sperm transport in the cat. The UTJ and the uterine crypts acted as sperm reservoirs before ovulation whereas the isthmus was a sperm reservoir around the time of ovulation. There was no difference in sperm numbers in the tissue sections between flushed and non-flushed segments, implying that the flushing technique only recovered some intraluminal spermatozoa while most of the spermatozoa remained in the epithelial crypts. This was further supported by the finding that significantly higher numbers of spermatozoa were recovered in the flushings at 30 min and 3 h after mating, when more spermatozoa were free in the lumina, than at 48 and 96 h after mating, when the majority of the spermatozoa were entrapped in the uterine epithelial crypts. (c) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

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2004, Volume: 62, number: 6, pages: 1027-1041

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