Males of the B10.BR-Ydel mouse strain, with a deletion in the long arm of the Y chromosome, were backcrossed to CBA females to introduce the Ydel chromosome to the genetic background of the CBA mice. The CBA-Ydel males (sixth backcross generation) had similar symptoms to those previously described for B10.BR-Ydel males (deterioration of sperm quality and of efficiency of fertilization), but these effects were much less pronounced, showing a favourable influence of the CBA genetic background. The CBA-Ydel males produced only 12% severely misshapen spermatozoa, and mating with B10.BR females gave 100% successful fertilization. Although nearly all sperm heads were abnormal (92% versus 6% in control males), most of the spermatozoa (76%) had deformation only in the acrosomal part, that is, flat heads, which were not found in the control males. These abnormalities were analysed in detail. As shown by differential staining, the acrosomes of the spermatozoa with flat heads were deformed; 18% of these acrosomes looked damaged, and often contained a vesicle, which stained in a similar way to the acrosome but lacked the reaction for acrosomal proteinase. Electron microscopy of testis sections revealed that deformations appeared already in round spermatids as distortion of the acrosomal vesicle and asymmetrical position of the acrosomal granule; in many elongating spermatids the proximal end had a flat or concave shape, and the acrosomes contained a translucent vesicle. It is possible that the genes that are missing in the Yq deletion have some important regulatory function in the course of spermiogenesis, which may explain the various sperm defects observed in Y-del males.
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