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Histochem J. 1998 Jul;30(7):481-8.

Localization of carbonic anhydrase in the sperm-storing regions of the turkey and quail oviduct.

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Department of Animal Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.


The localization of carbonic anhydrase in the sperm storage regions of turkey and quail was investigated using a histochemical method showing the activity of all the isozymes present. Intense carbonic anhydrase activity was found in the turkey sperm storage tubules and infundibular storage glands, whereas no activity could be detected in the quail at these sites. Both species did, however, show strong membrane-bound and cytoplasmic activity in the non-ciliated cells of the utero-vaginal surface epithelium and scattered cells of the vaginal epithelium. The enzyme catalyses the reaction CO2 + H2O <--> H+ + HCO3-, and the presence of carbonic anhydrase in these regions makes rapid changes in pH possible. It is suggested that increasing pH and/or the addition of bicarbonate stimulates sperm motility needed during transfer of the oviducal lumen. A lowering of the pH would keep the sperm quiescent during storage. The duration of sperm storage is considerably longer in the turkey than in the quail. The high quantity of carbonic anhydrase in the turkey sperm storage tubules may, thus, play a role in the duration of sperm storage.

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