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Mol Reprod Dev. 1994 Dec;39(4):433-8.

Comparison of the ability of progesterone and heat solubilized porcine zona pellucida to initiate the porcine sperm acrosome reaction in vitro.

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Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California at Davis 95616.


It has been previously shown that progesterone can initiate the acrosome reaction (AR) of capacitated human and hamster sperm in vivo. We report here that progesterone can initiate a morphologically normal AR in porcine sperm that have undergone capacitation in a Hepes-buffered medium in vitro. In addition, we have compared the abilities of progesterone and heat-solubilized porcine zona pellucida (zona) to initiate the porcine sperm AR. Capacitated porcine sperm were treated with 1 micrograms/ml progesterone, 150 micrograms/ml porcine zona, or solvent control for 10 min. After treatment, sperm were incubated with the supravital dye Hoechst 33258, fixed and the acrosomal status determined in the previously viable sperm by fluorescence microscopy with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled Pisum sativum agglutinin (FITC-PSA). There was no significant difference between the percentage of AR initiated by zona compared to that initiated by progesterone. In order to determine whether there was a synergistic interaction between the two AR initiators, both were added simultaneously to capacitated porcine sperm at optimal (1 microgram/ml progesterone, 150 micrograms/ml zona) and suboptimal (75 ng/ml progesterone and 75 micrograms/ml zona) concentrations. Simultaneous addition of the two AR-initiators at the two concentrations stimulated an additive AR-initiating response, rather than a synergistic one. Several possible explanations for the additive results are discussed.

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