Summary. Homogenates of hamster and bovine glands contain a "sperm motility factor" (SMF) that stimulates the motility of hamster epididymal spermatozoa in vitro. The potency of these adrenal preparations was severely attenuated after gel filtration on a Sephadex G-10 column. This loss of activity was ascribed to the retardation and separation of co-factors for SMF which appeared to be catecholamines. The sperm motility-stimulating activity of the SMF-containing fractions was fully restored by addition of either the 'retarded' fractions or catecholamines (epinephrine or norepinephrine). Neither the catecholamines nor the 'retarded' fractions were able to sustain vigorous sperm motility in the absence of the SMF-containing fractions. The potentiating action of catecholamines on SMF was mimicked by the adrenergic agonists isoproterenol and phenylephrine and inhibited by the α-adrenergic antagonist phentolamine, but not by the β-adrenergic antagonist propranolol. Our results indicate that one or more catecholamines are essential cofactors of SMF and demonstrate that hamster spermatozoa require catecholamines for their motility in vitro.
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