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Research article2006Peer reviewed

Sperm maturation in the domestic cat

Axner, E


The epididymis is essential for sperm development and maturation, and, subsequently, the ability of spermatozoa to penetrate and fertilize the female gamete. Functional differences in segments of the long tubule are reflected by histological differences among epididymal regions. The feline epididymis can be divided into six different regions according to their histological differences. A marked increase in sperm concentration occurs between regions 2 and 3, indicating resorption of fluid in region 2, a concept supported by the histological characteristics of the epithelium. At the transition between regions 4 and 5, located between the caput and corpus epididymides, histological characteristics change from being that of a maturation function to being typical of a storage function. Migration of the cytoplasmic droplet and induction of motility occur in this same region. Proteins are secreted from epithelial cells in the feline epididymis by merocrine and apocrine secretion, although the functions of different feline epididymal proteins have not been determined. Hypotaurine, taurine and, probably, alkaline phosphatase are produced by the feline epididymis. During epididymal transit the percentage of immature, unviable and morphologically abnormal spermatozoa decreases, indicating the existence of a mechanism that removes abnormal spermatozoa. In contrast, the percentage of spermatozoa with abnormal tails increases slightly during epididymal transit. Most of the distal droplets present on spermatozoa in the cauda epididymis are lost at or after ejaculation. Additional knowledge of the feline epididymis should be beneficial for developing sperm preservation protocols and advance the prospects for effective male contraceptive methods. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved



Published in

2006, Volume: 66, number: 1, pages: 14-24 Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Veterinary Science
    Animal and Dairy Science

    Publication identifier


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