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Biol Reprod. 1986 Feb;34(1):127-38.

Assessment of spermatozoal function using dual fluorescent staining and flow cytometric analyses.


Spermatozoa from bulls, boars, dogs, horses, mice, and men were examined using a fluorogenic stain consisting of the membrane-permeant substrate carboxyfluorescin diacetate (CFDA) and the relatively membrane-impermeant nuclear stain propidium iodide (PI). Three distinct populations of spermatozoa were discernible in samples from each species upon microscopic examination. Individual spermatozoa, presumed to be viable because of their motility, retained products of the fluorescein chromophore throughout the cell. A second population of spermatozoa in which the nuclei stained red with PI retained the green fluorescein fluorophore mainly in the acrosome. A third population, presumed to be degenerate spermatozoa, possessed only red fluorescent nuclei. These populations were quantified using dual parameter flow cytometry in 14 samples of cryopreserved bovine spermatozoa for which fertility and seminal quality data were available. Flow cytometric analyses were highly correlated with other seminal quality measurements. Sequential flow cytometric analyses provided the ability to rapidly quantitate changes in specific fluorescently stained populations. The ability to make rapid quantitative measurements should allow development of new and presumably more reliable information on the functional aspects of spermatozoa.

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