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M. de la Lastra, Lili Bravo, and Rosa Arriagada

Summary. Ovulation was induced in aminophylline-treated rats by different stimuli acting upon the pituitary gland (LH-RH in pro-oestrous rats treated with chlorpromazine), ovary (LH in pro-oestrous rats treated with chlorpromazine or hypophysectomized) or ovary and pituitary gland (PMSG in immature rats). In the different assays, the proportion of ovulating rats and the number of eggs ovulated were augmented by aminophylline treatment. Immature rats injected with aminophylline 1 day after priming with PMSG had, between 18:00 and 20:00 h, significantly higher blood LH levels than did controls.

Chlorpromazine injected at 10:00 h on the day of pro-oestrus inhibited ovulation and suppressed the LH surge normally observed at 18:00 h. However, aminophylline injected at 13:00 h re-established ovulation and induced within 1 h a slight LH secretion.

The results indicate that aminophylline affects both pituitary gland and ovary, supporting the concept that their cAMP levels play a significant biological role in the magnitude of the ovulatory response.

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P. Abrescia, G. Lombardi, M. De Rosa, L. Quagliozzi, J. Guardiola, and S. Metafora

Summary. In the seminal plasma of normal men a protein, immunologically related to a major protein (RSV-IV) secreted from the rat seminal vesicle epithelium, was detected by competition with RSV-IV in a specific radioimmunoassay using a rabbit anti RSV-IV antiserum. The protein was partly (80%) purified by column chromatography; characterization by gel electrophoresis indicated that the protein is slightly basic and has a molecular weight of 1 40 000. The protein was present on the surface of human spermatozoa as well as in the ejaculates of azoospermic men and it is believed to be a sperm-binding protein.

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A Cesari, M R Katunar, M A Monclus, A Vincenti, J C de Rosas, and M W Fornés

Bovine sperm protease, 66 kDa (BSp66) is a serine protease previously characterized in bovine spermatozoa. Like other proteases, it may be present in sperm from other mammalian species different from bovine, playing a role in the fertilization process. In this study, we looked for BSp66 in hamster spermatozoa using heterologous antibodies against bovine BSp66. An immunoreactive protein was detected by Western blotting in mature and immature sperm. The detected protein had two isoforms similar to the ones reported in bovine sperm. Furthermore, indirect immune detection by fluorescence and electron microscopy assays, showed BSp66 signal at the acrosomal region similar to bovine sperm. As it was determined in bovine sperm, the acrosomal reaction displays the antigen within the acrosomal content. When live hamster sperm was incubated with polyclonal antibody against bovine BSp66 a decrease in the number of sperm bound to zona pellucida in homologous IVF and an impairment of head–head agglutination, were observed. These results suggest that a protease homologous to bovine BSp66 is present in golden hamster spermatozoa, with a conserved molecular mass and cellular location. Moreover, hamster BSp66 is probably involved in zona pellucida recognition.