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Zygote. 2000 May;8(2):107-17.

Acrosomal status and motility of guinea pig spermatozoa during in vitro penetration of the cumulus oophorus.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Davis, USA.


Previous studies have suggested that both acrosome-intact and acrosome-reacted guinea pig sperm are capable of binding to the zona pellucida of cumulus-free oocytes, but the acrosomal status of guinea pig sperm during penetration of the cumulus has not been reported. We made video recordings of the interaction between capacitated guinea pig sperm and cumulus-invested guinea pig oocytes. The videotapes were analysed to identify sperm with hyperactivated motility and to classify the acrosomal status of sperm during penetration of the cumulus and after binding to the zona pellucida. The resolution of the video recordings was not sufficient to recognise sperm with swollen acrosomes. However, sperm that had completed the acrosome reaction were easily identified. Acrosome-reacted sperm were found adherent to the outer boundary of the cumulus, but were never observed to penetrate the cumulus. The percentage of acrosome-intact, hyperactivated sperm was higher in the cumulus oophorus than in culture medium, suggesting that changes in motility were elicited in response to contact with the cumulus. Fully acrosome-reacted sperm were found adherent to the zona pellucida, and solubilised guinea pig zona pellucida was capable of inducing acrosome reactions in capacitated guinea pig sperm. Acrosome-intact sperm were also observed on the zona, but they were not tightly bound and did not have hyperactivated motility, suggesting that these sperm were not functionally capacitated. Our observations demonstrate that guinea pig sperm penetrate the cumulus matrix in an acrosome-intact state. Although we did not observe sperm undergoing the acrosome reaction, our observations and experimental data suggest that the acrosome reaction of guinea pig sperm is completed on or near the surface of the zona pellucida.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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