Maturational Changes in Binding Capacity of Fowl Sperm to the Epithelium of the Sperm Storage Tubules during Their Passage through the Male Reproductive Tract

  • Ahammad, Muslah U. (Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus) ;
  • Okamoto, S. (Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University) ;
  • Kawamoto, Yasuhiro (Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus) ;
  • Nakada, T. (Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus)
  • Received : 2011.04.15
  • Accepted : 2011.07.29
  • Published : 2011.09.01


The objective of this study was to examine the binding potential of sperm to the epithelium of the sperm storage tubules (SST) in vitro and in vivo to assess the functional maturation of fowl sperm. Sperm from the testis, epididymis, as well as the proximal, middle and distal vas deferens were incubated in vitro with either the uterovaginal junction (UVJ)- or infundibular tissue containing SST at $39^{\circ}C$ for 30 min. Aliquots of sperm were also artificially inseminated into the uteri of hens, and the UVJ and infundibulum were collected 24 h post artificial insemination (AI). After incubation and AI, tissues were washed to remove loosely adhered sperm and subjected to fluorescence staining with 4', 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole, dihydrochloride (DAPI) for counting the number of bound sperm per 0.25 mm2 of surface area. Sperm from the testis, epididymis, and the three segments of the vas deferens exhibited their differential (p<0.05) binding capacity, which increased gradually from the testicular to distal vas deferens sperm under both in vitro and in vivo conditions. Existing similar trend, sperm, regardless of their source had a lesser affinity to bind to the epithelium of the infundibular SST than to the UVJ-SST. These experimental results suggested that fowl sperm may undergo gradual changes in the process of functional maturation, whereby they gain the ability to bind to the epithelium of the SST during their passage through the male reproductive tract (MRT).


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