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Biol Reprod. 1986 Feb;34(1):183-93.

ATP-induced reactivation of ram testicular, cauda epididymal, and ejaculated spermatozoa extracted with Triton X-100.


It was possible to demembrante and reactivate not only freshly collected testicular, cauda epididymal, and ejaculated ram sperm but also sperm that had been stored for several days at 0 degrees C and for several months at -196 degrees C in rete testis fluid or egg yolk citrate media. Sperm were usually washed free of seminal plasma before demembranation, but this was not essential for reactivation. Bovine serum albumin (1.0%) in the wash medium increased the survival of sperm, but more than 0.25% in the extraction medium decreased reactivation. A macro-molecular component of cauda epididymal fluid also inhibited the reactivation of testicular sperm. Triton X-100 concentrations between 0.01% and 1.00% in the extraction medium were satisfactory for demembranating the sperm. Rapid cooling (i.e., cold shock) mimicked the effect of detergent in making the sperm responsive to added ATP and demonstrated that damage to ram sperm in cold shock does not involve the axoneme. Ejaculated and cauda sperm were reactivated immediately on addition of ATP and activity persisted for up to 10 min. Testicular sperm, on the other hand, required about 4 min to become fully reactivated. The optimal ATP concentration for activation of sperm was 0.1-1.0 mM. Magnesium ions (0.1-1.0 mM) were important for reactivation, and testicular sperm required a higher magnesium concentration than did cauda or ejaculated sperm. Manganese ions were almost as effective as magnesium for reactivating cauda epididymal and ejaculated sperm. Cobalt and cadmium ions were much less active for cauda and ejaculated sperm and none of these ions were effective for testicular sperm. Fluoride (25-50 mM) inhibited reactivation. The presence of 50 microM cAMP in the extraction medium or preincubation of testicular sperm with theophylline or caffeine increased low levels of activation, but this was not evident with ejaculated or cauda sperm. We conclude that the motor apparatus is already functionally assembled in spermatozoa on leaving the testis, but some fine adjustment must take place during maturation in the epididymis.

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