After mating, mammalian spermatozoa are transported to the lower oviductal isthmus. Spermatozoa are sequestered at the isthmus by attaching and interacting with oviductal epithelial cells, hence forming a sperm reservoir. In several mammalian species, specific carbohydrates mediate sperm-oviductal epithelial cell binding. A quantitative in vitro free cell bioassay was developed to investigate the involvement of carbohydrate recognition in pig sperm-oviductal epithelial cell interactions. This assay was validated. The sensitivity of the assay was such that it was possible to discriminate between different sperm concentrations and sperm-oviductal epithelial cell co-incubation periods, spermatozoa with damaged plasma membranes and epithelial cells of non-reproductive origin. Optimal conditions were used to incubate spermatozoa and oviductal epithelial cells in the presence of six hexose sugars at concentrations of 0, 2, 10 and 50 mmol l(-1). A significant (P < or = 0.05) reduction in the binding of spermatozoa to the oviductal epithelium was detected with 2, 10 and 50 mmol maltose l(-1), 50 mmol lactose l(-1) and 50 mmol mannose l(-1). These findings support the hypothesis that attachment of pig spermatozoa to oviductal epithelium before fertilization is mediated by carbohydrate recognition.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.