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Betsy Peitz

Summary. Fluid obtained by stripping dissected seminal vesicles was mixed with phosphate-buffered saline and the soluble proteins were separated by gel filtration on BioRad P150 into 4 fractions. Fractions were collected and concentrated using an Amicon ultrafiltration system using YM2 membranes with a molecular weight cut-off of 1000. Epididymal sperm suspensions were incubated in medium containing one of the 4 fractions or 1 mg BSA/ml, or no added protein. After incubation for 2 h the motility of the spermatozoa in each suspension was assessed by a videomicrographic procedure. Two aspects of motility, velocity and the shape of the swimming path, were monitored. The results indicate that the seminal vesicles produce at least three factors that influence sperm motility. Fraction 3 (M r 12 000–24 000) was detrimental to motility; after incubation for 2 h almost all the spermatozoa were immotile. Fractions 2 (M r 25 000–40 000) and 4 (M r 7000–12 000) both influenced the shape of the swimming path: spermatozoa incubated in Fraction 2 had straighter trajectories while those incubated in Fraction 4 showed more progressive paths with less side-to-side movement of the head about the path. These effects of factors from the seminal vesicle fluid on sperm motility may influence the way in which the spermatozoa move in the female reproductive tract and could help to explain why removal of the seminal vesicles reduces fertility in the mouse.

Keywords: sperm motility; seminal vesicles; accessory glands; mouse

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Betsy Peitz

Summary. The oestrous cycle of the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus), as determined by vaginal smears, is 11·1 ± 1·9 (s.d.) days (n = 110). The vaginal smears show cell patterns similar to those seen in the rat, but secretion of mucus is greater than in the rat. The average age at vaginal opening is 45 ± 2·77 (s.e.m.) days, but the first litter (sired by litter mates) did not occur until 103 ± 4·04 (s.e.m.) days. The decidual response to uterine trauma indicates that there is an active luteal phase. The ovaries are otherwise histologically similar to those of other murids.

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Betsy Peitz, D. Foreman and M. Schmitt

Summary. The testes of the spiny mice showed asymmetry, the left being significantly heavier than the right (P = 0·025). Histological studies indicated that spermatozoa were first present in the testes of animals 35–45 days of age but the maturation of the accessory glands, especially the lateral prostates and coagulating glands, occurred later. The highest fructose concentration in the adult was in the lateral prostates (126·97 ± 22·23 mg fructose/100 g, n = 5) and coagulating glands (99·38 ± 17·65 mg fructose/100 g gland weight, n = 5). Coagulation tests of mixtures of extracts of seminal vesicles and coagulating glands from spiny mice and rats indicated that the vesiculase of the spiny mouse was active on rat substrates and vice versa. Cross-reactions of extracts of house mouse (Mus musculus), hamster (Mesocricetus auratus), gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus), and guinea-pig (Cavia porcellus) seminal vesicles (substrate) and coagulating glands (vesiculase) with those of rats and spiny mice showed that although the substrates of rat and spiny mouse were readily coagulated by vesiculase from all the other species, rat and spiny mouse vesiculase were not equally active on substrates of the other species.