Author(s): Fazeli A, Duncan AE, Watson PF, Holt WV
After mating, inseminated spermatozoa are transported to the oviduct. They attach to and interact with oviductal epithelial cells (OEC). To investigate sperm-OEC interactions, we used chlortetracycline to study the capacitation status of boar spermatozoa in coculture with homologous OEC and cells of nonreproductive origin (LLC-PK1, porcine kidney epithelial cell line). Boar spermatozoa were cocultured with OEC and LLC-PK1 cells for 15, 60, 120, or 240 min. The proportion of capacitated spermatozoa in coculture with the isthmic and ampullar cells increased significantly (p < 0.05) during incubation. However, most spermatozoa in coculture with LLC-PK1 cells or blank (medium only) remained uncapacitated. In addition, preferential binding of uncapacitated, capacitated, or acrosome-reacted boar spermatozoa to OEC and the other cell type was investigated. Our approach was to vary the proportions of uncapacitated, capacitated, or acrosome-reacted boar spermatozoa in suspension using long preincubation and lysophosphatidylcholine treatment of semen prior to a very short incubation with OEC or LLC-PK1 cells. The results showed that the majority of spermatozoa that were bound to OEC or LLC-PK1 cells were uncapacitated and that a significant relationship existed between the relative proportion of uncapacitated spermatozoa in the control samples and those bound to LLC-PK1 cells (r2 = 0.43, p < 0.005). However, there was no correlation between the proportion of uncapacitated spermatozoa in the control samples and the proportion of those bound to isthmic or ampullar cells. In conclusion, the results clearly demonstrated the specific nature of the sperm-OEC interaction in the porcine species. This interaction is initiated by uncapacitated spermatozoa binding to OEC and is continued by the induction of capacitation in cocultured spermatozoa.