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Protein Composition of Seminal Plasma in Fractionated Stallion Ejaculates


Author’s address (for correspondence): Maria Kareskoski, University of Helsinki, Paroninkuja 20, 04920 Saarentaus, Finland.E-mail:


Seminal plasma (SP) contains several types of compounds derived from the epididymides and accessory glands. The aim of this study was to examine the protein composition of different ejaculate fractions. Trial I: fractionated ejaculates were collected from two normal and two subfertile stallions. Samples containing pre-sperm fluid and the first sperm-rich jets (HIGH-1), the main sperm-rich portion (HIGH-2), the jets with low sperm concentrations (LOW), and a combined whole-ejaculate (WE) sample was centrifuged, and the SP was filtered and frozen. A part of each SP sample was stored (5°C, 24 h) with spermatozoa from HIGH-2 and skim milk extender. Sperm motility was evaluated after storage in extender mixed with the stallion’s own SP or SP from one of the other stallions (sperm from a normal stallion stored in SP from a subfertile stallion and vice versa). Protein composition was analysed using reverse-phase liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC), N-terminal sequencing and mass spectrometry. The area-under-the-curve (AUC) was used for quantitative comparison of proteins within fractions. Trial II: semen samples were collected from seven stallions. Fractions with the highest (HIGH) and lowest (LOW) sperm concentrations and WE samples were examined using SDS-PAGE and densitometry. No significant differences emerged between fractions in the AUC-values of the Horse Seminal Protein-1 (HSP-1) and HSP-2 peaks, or the peak containing HSP-3 and HSP-4 (HSP-3/4). Levels of HSP-1, HSP-2 and HSP-3/4 were not significantly correlated with total sperm motility, progressive sperm motility or average path velocity after storage. Significant differences between ejaculate fractions in the amount of different protein groups present in SP were not found in Trial I; but in Trial II, the proteins in the 60–70 kDa range were more abundant in LOW than in HIGH and WE, indicating that this band contained proteins derived mainly from the seminal vesicles, which produce most of the SP in LOW.