Role of Calcium and Calcium Channels in Progesterone Induced Acrosome Reaction in Caprine Spermatozoa

  • Somanath, P.R. (Animal Biochemistry Division, National Dairy Research Institute) ;
  • Gandhi, K.K. (Animal Biochemistry Division, National Dairy Research Institute)
  • Received : 2001.09.13
  • Accepted : 2002.02.15
  • Published : 2002.07.01


There are several physiological and pharmacological evidences indicating that opening of voltage dependent $Ca^{2+}$ channels play a critical role in induction of acrosome reaction in mammalian sperm. We determined the intracellular free $Ca^{2+}$ concentration in ejaculated goat sperm using a fluorescent, $Ca^{2+}$-specific probe, Fura2/AM, after the suspension of sperm in KRB medium, capable of sustaining capacitation and the acrosome reaction. We used nifedipine, D-600 and diltiazem, the $Ca^{2+}$ channel antagonists belonging to the classes of dihydropyridines, phenylalkylamines and benzothiazepines, to investigate the possibility that L-type voltage gated $Ca^{2+}$ channels play a role in the progesterone-stimulated exocytotic response. Progesterone promoted a rise in intracellular $Ca^{2+}$ in goat sperm and addition of nifedipine (100 nM) just prior to progesterone induction, significantly inhibited both intracellular $Ca^{2+}$ rise and exocytosis suggesting that $Ca^{2+}$ channels are involved in the process. However, the intracellular $Ca^{2+}$ increase during the process of capacitation was not affected with the addition of nifedipine suggesting a role of focal channel for $Ca^{2+}$ during capacitation. Studies using monensin and nigericin, two monovalent cation ionophores showed that an influx of $Na^+$ also may play a role in the opening of $Ca^{2+}$ channels. These results strongly suggests that the entry of $Ca^{2+}$ channels with characteristics similar to those of L-type, voltage-sensitive $Ca^{2+}$ channels found in cardiac and skeletal muscle, is a crucial step in the sequence of events leading to progesterone induced acrosome reaction in goat sperm.


Goat Sperm;Nifedipine;Monensin;Nigericin;$Ca^{2+}$;Channels;Fura 2


Supported by : Council of Scientific and Industrial Research


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