Previous experiments have established that the long-lived spermatozoa of hibernating bats are resistant to the acrosome reaction and fertilization in vitro using conventional techniques. We tested the hypothesis that the membranes of these spermatozoa are more resistant to perturbation than those of other mammals. We exposed them to non-specific bilayer destabilizing agents and abrupt changes in incubation temperature and tested their response by observing their status (motility and viability) after a time interval compared with other mammals (golden hamster, rabbit, human). The results did not support the hypothesis. The inherent longevity of bat spermatozoa may thus be a function of some component other than unique resilience of their plasma membrane.
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