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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Sperm function during incubation with oestrus oviductal fluid differs in bulls with different fertility

Kumaresan, A.; Johannisson, A.; Bergqvist, A. -S.


Spermatozoa undergo several modifications in the oviduct before acquiring fertilising capacity. Although spermatozoa are exposed to similar conditions in the oviduct, the speed of the response varies with the male and the state of the spermatozoa. We hypothesised that spermatozoa from bulls with different fertility may differ in their ability to respond to oviductal fluid (ODF). Frozen-thawed spermatozoa from four bulls were incubated with oestrus oviductal fluid (OODF) for 6h. Sperm kinematics, tyrosine phosphorylation, phosphorylation patterns, capacitation and acrosome reaction were analysed at hourly intervals. The amplitude of lateral head displacement (ALH) and straightness coefficient (STR) were higher (P < 0.05) in bulls with higher fertility compared with those with lower fertility, at 1-4h of incubation. At 4h of incubation and onwards, spermatozoa from bulls with higher fertility showed a lower degree (P < 0.05) of tyrosine phosphorylation and higher degree of capacitation and acrosome reaction. At least five tyrosine-phosphorylated sperm proteins were detected in all bulls. However, the expression of two phosphorylated sperm proteins (183 and 109 kDa) was upregulated in bulls with lower fertility. It may be concluded that cryopreserved spermatozoa from high- and low-fertile bulls differ in their ability to respond to OODF. This may help in developing tools for assessing fertility of bulls, once validated in more animals.


acrosome reaction; bovine; capacitation; tyrosine phosphorylation

Published in

Reproduction, Fertility and Development
2017, Volume: 29, number: 6, pages: 1096-1106