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Biol Reprod. 2016 Apr;94(4):80. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.115.135368. Epub 2016 Mar 9.

Behavior of Mouse Spermatozoa in the Female Reproductive Tract from Soon after Mating to the Beginning of Fertilization.

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Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.
The Institute for Biogenesis Research, Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology, School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan


Using transgenic mice with spermatozoa expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein in their acrosome and red fluorescent protein in their midpiece mitochondria, we followed the behavior of spermatozoa within the female genital tract after natural mating. When examined 15 min after coitus, many spermatozoa were around the opening of the uterotubal junction. Spermatozoa that entered the uterotubal junction were seemingly not moving, yet they steadily migrated toward the isthmus at a speed only time-lapse video recording could demonstrate. Many spermatozoa reaching the lower isthmus were motile. The site where spermatozoa attached and detached from the isthmus epithelium shifted from the lower to the upper segment of the isthmus with time. Virtually all the live spermatozoa within the lower isthmus were acrosome intact, whereas many of the actively motile spermatozoa in the upper isthmus were acrosome reacted. As far as we could observe, all the spermatozoa we found within the lumen of the ampulla and the cumulus oophorus were acrosome reacted. Even though we saw only a very few spermatozoa within the ampulla during fertilization, all were associated with, or were already within, oocytes, indicating that mouse fertilization in vivo is extremely efficient.


ampulla; isthmus; mouse; oviduct; sperm migration; uterotubal junction

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