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      Effects of acrosomal conditions of frozen-thawed spermatozoa on the results of artificial insemination in Japanese Black cattle

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          The purposes of this study were to examine the relationship between male artificial insemination (AI) fertility and sperm acrosomal conditions assessed by new and conventional staining techniques and to identify possible reproductive dysfunctions causing low conception rates in AI using frozen-thawed spermatozoa with poor acrosomal conditions in Japanese Black bulls. We investigated individual differences among bulls in the results concerning (1) acrosomal conditions of frozen-thawed spermatozoa as assessed by not merely peanut agglutinin-lectin staining (a conventional staining technique) but also immunostaining of acrosomal tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins (a new staining technique), (2) routine AI using frozen-thawed spermatozoa as assessed by pregnancy diagnosis, (3) in vivo fertilization of frozen-thawed spermatozoa and early development of fertilized eggs as assessed by superovulation/AI-embryo collection tests and (4) in vitro fertilization of frozen-thawed spermatozoa with oocytes. The percentages of frozen-thawed spermatozoa with normal acrosomal conditions assessed by the abovementioned staining techniques were significantly correlated with the conception rates of routine AI, rates of transferable embryos in superovulation/AI-embryo collection tests and in vitro fertilization rates. These results are consistent with new suggestions that the distribution of acrosomal tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins as well as the acrosomal morphology of frozen-thawed spermatozoa are AI fertility-associated markers that are valid for the prediction of AI results and that low conception rates in AI using frozen-thawed spermatozoa with poor acrosomal conditions result from reproductive dysfunctions in the processes between sperm insemination into females and early embryo development, probably failed fertilization of frozen-thawed spermatozoa with oocytes.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Most fertilizing mouse spermatozoa begin their acrosome reaction before contact with the zona pellucida during in vitro fertilization.

          To fuse with oocytes, spermatozoa of eutherian mammals must pass through extracellular coats, the cumulus cell layer, and the zona pellucida (ZP). It is generally believed that the acrosome reaction (AR) of spermatozoa, essential for zona penetration and fusion with oocytes, is triggered by sperm contact with the zona pellucida. Therefore, in most previous studies of sperm-oocyte interactions in the mouse, the cumulus has been removed before insemination to facilitate the examination of sperm-zona interactions. We used transgenic mouse spermatozoa, which enabled us to detect the onset of the acrosome reaction using fluorescence microscopy. We found that the spermatozoa that began the acrosome reaction before reaching the zona were able to penetrate the zona and fused with the oocyte's plasma membrane. In fact, most fertilizing spermatozoa underwent the acrosome reaction before reaching the zona pellucida of cumulus-enclosed oocytes, at least under the experimental conditions we used. The incidence of in vitro fertilization of cumulus-free oocytes was increased by coincubating oocytes with cumulus cells, suggesting an important role for cumulus cells and their matrix in natural fertilization.
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            Acrosome-reacted mouse spermatozoa recovered from the perivitelline space can fertilize other eggs.

            Many investigators maintain that spermatozoa that have initiated the acrosome reaction (AR) before reaching the surface of the egg's zona pellucida (ZP) are unable to bind and penetrate the ZP. A recent study has revealed that most fertilizing mouse spermatozoa initiate the AR before contacting the ZP. We found that acrosome-reacted spermatozoa collected from the perivitelline space of Cd9-null mice (whose egg plasma membranes are incapable of fusing with spermatozoa) were able to pass through both the cumulus and ZP of WT mouse eggs and produced live offspring. This means that the spermatozoa we used had the ability to pass through the ZP at least twice. Apparently, some spermatozoa that had undergone the AR long before contact with the ZP remained capable of crossing the ZP and fertilizing eggs. Thus, the concept that acrosome-reacted spermatozoa are unable to bind to the ZP and have lost their fertilizing capacity must be reconsidered.
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              Sperm protamine-status correlates to the fertility of breeding bulls.

              During fertilization, spermatozoa make essential contributions to embryo development by providing oocyte activating factors, centrosomal components, and paternal chromosomes. Protamines are essential for proper packaging of sperm DNA; however, in contrast to the studies of oocyte-related female infertility, the influence of sperm chromatin structure on male infertility has not been evaluated extensively. The objective of this study was to determine the sperm chromatin content of bull spermatozoa by evaluating DNA fragmentation, chromatin maturity/protamination, PRM1 protein status, and nuclear shape in spermatozoa from bulls with different fertility. Relationships between protamine 1 (PRM1) and the chromatin integrity were ascertained in spermatozoa from Holstein bulls with varied (high vs. low) but acceptable fertility. Sperm DNA fragmentation and chromatin maturity (protamination) were tested using Halomax assay and toluidine blue staining, respectively. The PRM1 content was assayed using Western blotting and in-gel densitometry, flow cytometry, and immunocytochemistry. Fragmentation of DNA was increased and chromatin maturity significantly reduced in spermatozoa from low-fertility bulls compared to those from high-fertility bulls. Field fertility scores of the bulls were negatively correlated with the percentage of spermatozoa displaying reduced protamination and fragmented DNA using toluidine blue and Halomax, respectively. Bull fertility was also positively correlated with PRM1 content by Western blotting and flow cytometry. However, detection of PRM1 content by Western blotting alone was not predictive of bull fertility. In immunocytochemistry, abnormal spermatozoa showed either a lack of PRM1 or scattered localization in the apical/acrosomal region of the nuclei. The nuclear shape was distorted in spermatozoa from low-fertility bulls. In conclusion, we showed that inadequate amount and localization of PRM1 were associated with defects in sperm chromatin structure, coinciding with reduced fertility in bulls. These findings are highly significant because they reveal molecular and morphological phenotypes of mammalian spermatozoa that influence fertility.

                Author and article information

                J Reprod Dev
                J. Reprod. Dev
                The Journal of Reproduction and Development
                The Society for Reproduction and Development
                21 August 2015
                December 2015
                : 61
                : 6
                : 519-524
                [1) ]Division of Animal Science, Department of Bioresource Science, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Kobe 657-8501, Japan
                [2) ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Shiga University of Medical Science, Otsu 520-2192, Japan
                [3) ]Northern Center of Agricultural Technology, General Technological Center of Hyogo Prefecture for Agriculture, Forest and Fishery, Asago 669-5254, Japan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: H Harayama (e-mail: harayama@ 123456kobe-u.ac.jp )

                Kishida K and Sakase M equally contributed to this work.

                ©2015 Society for Reproduction and Development

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) License.

                Original Article

                acrosome, artificial insemination, cattle, sperm, subfertility


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