Alterations in primate sperm motility with maturation and during exposure to theophylline

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Abstract

Micropuncture was used to collect pure suspensions of sperm from the caput and cauda regions of chimpanzee epididymides, which were analyzed with a Motion Analysis VP-110. Sperm recovered from the caput region showed no forward motility. Incubation of these sperm with cauda epididymal fluid affected motility in 62%–90% of the sperm. Dilution of cauda sperm into buffer containing >50 mM theophylline resulted in immediate initiation of progressive forward motility. Although this motility was maintained by at least 50% of the sperm for over 5 hr, these “activated” caput sperm did not penetrate zona-free hamster ova. These data show that sperm from the caput epididymis of the chimpanzee have the capacity for normal motility but do not have the capacity to bind to and penetrate an ovum. Cauda epididymal chimpanzee sperm were motile at the time of recovery and this motility was maintained for over 5 hr. These sperm penetrated both hamster zona-free ova and intact chimpanzee ova. These data show that sperm from the cauda epididymis of the chimpanzee have the capacity for normal motility and also have the capacity to bind to and penetrate an ovum. This is the first use of computer assisted analysis to quantify motility in maturing nonhuman primate sperm.

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