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J Cell Biochem. 2017 Nov;118(11):4095-4108. doi: 10.1002/jcb.26067. Epub 2017 May 31.

Fibronectin From Oviductal Cells Fluctuates During the Estrous Cycle and Contributes to Sperm-Oviduct Interaction in Cattle.

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Laboratorio de Biotecnologías Reproductivas y Mejoramiento Genético Animal (IIB-INTECH Dr. Rodolfo Ugalde, CONICET/UNSAM), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Laboratorio de Biología de la Reproducción en Mamíferos, (CEFYBO-CONICET/UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Laboratorio de Reproducción y Metabolismo, (CEFYBO-CONICET/UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Laboratorio de Fisiología y Farmacología de la Reproducción, (CEFYBO-CONICET/UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Laboratorio de Fisiopatología de la Preñez y el Parto, (CEFYBO-CONICET/UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Laboratorio de Biología de la Reproducción, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Antofagasta, Antofagasta, Chile.


During the passage of sperm through the oviduct, spermatozoa bind to the oviductal epithelium and form the oviductal reservoir. This interaction keeps the fertilizing capacity of sperm until ovulation-associated signals induce sperm release from the oviductal epithelium, allowing the transit of spermatozoa to the fertilization site. Fibronectin is a glycoprotein from the extracellular matrix that binds to α5β1 receptors. Fibronectin has been found to be expressed in the oviduct, whereas α5β1 has been found to be expressed in the sperm of different species. Fibronectin is involved through α5β1 in sperm functions. The aim of this work was to study the participation of oviductal fibronectin in the regulation of the sperm-oviduct interaction in cattle. We found that oviductal epithelial cells differentially expressed all mRNA splice variants of fibronectin during the estrous cycle. Fibronectin was localized in the apical region of oviductal epithelial cells and fibronectin levels in the oviductal fluid fluctuated during the estrous cycle. Also, bovine spermatozoa expressed α5β1. Using in vitro sperm-oviduct co-cultures, we found that spermatozoa were attached to the oviductal epithelium through α5β1. The incubation of co-cultures with fibronectin induced sperm release from the oviductal cells through α5β1. The sperm population released from oviductal cells by fibronectin was enriched in motile and capacitated spermatozoa. Based on our in vitro culture system results, we propose that fibronectin and α5β1 are involved in the sperm-oviduct interaction. Also, an increase in fibronectin levels in the oviductal fluid during the pre-ovulatory period may promote sperm release from the oviductal epithelium in cattle. J. Cell. Biochem. 118: 4095-4108, 2017.



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