Author(s): Petrunkina AM, Gehlhaar R, Drommer W, Waberski D, TpferPetersen E
The sperm reservoir in the caudal isthmus of the oviduct of a number of species is created by binding of spermatozoa to oviductal epithelium. The sperm reservoir fulfills a number of functions such as control of sperm transport, maintenance of sperm viability and modulation of capacitation. The initial capacities of ejaculated and epididymal boar spermatozoa to bind to oviductal epithelium were investigated using a modified pig oviductal explant assay. The number of spermatozoa that bound to 0.01 mm(2) of explant surface was used as the parameter of binding capacity. Binding of spermatozoa to oviductal epithelial explants was dependent in a linear manner on the number of spermatozoa added (P < or = 0.05). No difference was found in initial sperm binding between isthmic and ampullar explants. There was no effect of the stage of the oestrous cycle or the reproductive status of the female donor. There was a significant effect (P < or = 0.05) of the individual boar on the binding index. The binding index correlated negatively with the percentage of spermatozoa with cytoplasmic droplets and the percentage of morphologically abnormal spermatozoa (P < or = 0.05). Epididymal spermatozoa showed significantly lower initial binding capability than did ejaculated spermatozoa from the same boars (P < or = 0.05); therefore, components of seminal plasma may play a role in the binding process. The individual differences revealed by this study and their relation to morphology and contact of spermatozoa with seminal fluid indicate a selective function of sperm-oviduct binding.