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Theriogenology. 2010 Nov;74(8):1403-13. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2010.06.012. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Sperm ultrastructure, morphometry, and abnormal morphology in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA, USA. lfcbrito@lycos.com

Abstract

The objective of this study was to describe sperm ultrastructure, morphometry, and abnormal morphology in American black bears. Electroejaculation was successful in 53.8% (7/13) of the attempts, but urine contamination was common. Epididymal sperm samples were also obtained from five bears. Sperm had a paddle-like head shape and the ultrastructure was similar to that of most other mammals. The most striking particularity of black bear sperm ultrastructure was a tightening of the nucleus in the equatorial region. Although the differences were not significant in all bears, the overall decrease in sperm nucleus dimensions during transport from the caput epididymis to the cauda suggested increasing compaction of the nucleus during maturation. For ejaculated sperm, nucleus length, width, and base width were 4.9, 3.7, and 1.8 μm, respectively, whereas sperm head length, width, and base width were 6.6, 4.8, and 2.3 μm, and midpiece, tail (including midpiece), and total sperm lengths were 9.8, 68.8, and 75.3 μm. Evaluation of sperm cytoplasmic droplets in the epididymis revealed that proximal droplets start migrating toward a distal position in the caput epididymis and that the process was mostly completed by the time sperm reached the cauda epididymis. The proportion of morphologically normal sperm in the ejaculate was 35.6%; the most prevalent sperm defects were distal cytoplasmic droplets and bent/coiled tails. The morphology of abnormal sperm and the underlying ultrastructural defects were similar to that in other large domestic animals thus suggesting similar underlying pathogenesis of specific sperm defects and similar effects on fertility.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20708230
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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