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Hyperactivated stallion spermatozoa fail to exhibit a rheotaxis-like behaviour, unlike other species

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posted on 2018-11-28, 11:51 authored by Jon Romero-Aguirregomezcorta, Emer Sugrue, Lucía Martínez-Fresneda, DAVID NEWPORTDAVID NEWPORT, Seán Fair
The journey of spermatozoa through the female genital tract is facilitated by rheotaxis, or the cell’s preference to swim against a flow, as well as thigmotaxis, the wall tracking behaviour, which guides them to the site of fertilisation. The aim of this study was to characterise the rheotactic and thigmotactic response of stallion sperm within a microfluidic channel. Stallion sperm rheotaxis was assessed within the microfluidic channel with regard to: (i) A range of flow velocities, (ii) Varying media viscosity and (iii) Sperm hyperactivation. Sperm distribution across the microfluidic channel was also studied and compared to human and ram sperm. Stallion sperm progressed furthest at a velocity range of 10–30 μm/s, with an optimum velocity of 20 μm/s. A flow viscosity of 2.5cP or greater reduced sperm rheotaxis (P < 0.05). Stallion sperm that were hyperactivated were unable to exhibit rheotaxis within the microfluidic channel, whereas, both hyperactivated human and ram sperm did exhibit positive rheotaxis under the same conditions. The number of sperm swimming near the microfluidic channel walls was higher than in the microfluidic channel centre (P < 0.05). This is the first study to illustrate that stallion sperm are rheotactically responsive and increasing viscosity reduces this response. We also demonstrated that sperm are predominantly inclined to swim along a surface and uniquely, hyperactivated stallion sperm are non-progressive and do not exhibit a rheotactic response unlike other species.



Scientific Reports;8:16897


Nature Research



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