Send to

Choose Destination
Biotech Histochem. 2009 Dec;84(6):299-308. doi: 10.3109/10520290902984274.

SpermBlue: a new universal stain for human and animal sperm which is also amenable to automated sperm morphology analysis.

Author information

Department of Medical Biosciences, University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville 7530, South Africa.


Our study was aimed at exploring a simple procedure to stain differentially the acrosome, head, midpiece, and flagellum of human and animal sperm. A further prerequisite was that sperm morphology of the stained samples could be analyzed using automated sperm morphology analysis (ASMA). We developed a new staining process using SpermBlue fixative and SpermBlue stain, which are iso-osmotic in relation to semen. The entire fixation and staining processes requires only 25 min. Three main steps are required. First, a routine sperm smear is made by either using semen or sperm in a diluting medium. The smear is allowed to air dry at room temperature. Second, the smear is fixed for 10 min by either placing the slide with the dried smear in a staining tray containing SpermBlue fixative or by adding 1 ml SpermBlue fixative to the slide. Third, the fixed smear is stained for 15 min by either immersing the slide in a staining tray containing SpermBlue stain or adding four drops of SpermBlue stain to the fixed smear. The stained slide is dipped gently in distilled water followed by air drying and mounting in DPX or an equivalent medium. The method is simple and suitable for field conditions. Sperm of human, three monkey species, horse, boar, bull, ram, mouse, rat, domestic chicken, fish, and invertebrate species were stained successfully using the SpermBlue staining process. SpermBlue stains human and animal sperm different hues or intensities of blue. It is possible to distinguish clearly the acrosome, sperm head, midpiece, principal piece of the tail, and even the short end piece. The Sperm Class Analyzer ASMA system was used successfully to quantify sperm head and midpiece measurements automatically at either 600 x or 1000 x magnification for most of the species studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center