Capacitation of bovine sperm was evaluated by determining the ability of sperm to fertilize bovine oocytes in vitro and to undergo an acrosome reaction upon exposure to lysophosphatidylcholine (LC). Incubation of sperm with heparin (10 micrograms/ml) increased the percentage of oocytes fertilized, but this required exposing sperm to heparin for at least 4 h before adding them to oocytes. There was no effect on the percentage of motile or acrosome-reacted sperm after exposure of noncapacitated sperm to 100 micrograms/ml LC for 15 min. When sperm were incubated for 4 h with heparin, exposure to 100 micrograms/ml LC for 15 min had no effect on the percentage of sperm that were motile, but the percentage of acrosome-reacted sperm increased from less than 10% to over 70%. The acrosome reactions (ARs) induced by LC were synchronous, reached maximal levels within 15 min, and differed (p less than 0.001) between sperm incubated under capacitating (with heparin) and noncapacitating conditions (without heparin). The time course required for heparin to capacitate sperm as judged by in vitro fertilization and to render sperm sensitive to LC induction of the AR were found to be similar. The percentage of ARs induced by LC and percentage of oocytes fertilized by sperm were found to be heparin-dose-dependent, with the maximum responses occurring at 5-10 micrograms/ml heparin. The correlation between the mean fertilization and LC-induced AR percentages was 0.997 (p less than 0.01). These studies demonstrate capacitation of bovine sperm by heparin requires at least a 4-h exposure of sperm to heparin and suggest that plasma membrane changes prior to an AR can be detected by exposure of bovine sperm to LC.
It is not clear whether the turnover of ovarian follicles during the estrous cycle in cattle is continuous and independent of the phase of the cycle, or whether waves of follicular growth occur at specific times of the cycle. To clarify this controversy, the pattern of growth and regression of ovarian follicles was characterized during a complete estrous cycle in ten heifers by daily ultrasonographic examinations. Follicles greater than or equal to 5 mm were measured and their relative locations within the ovary were determined in order to follow the sequential development of each individual follicle. Results indicated the presence of either two (n = 2 heifers), three (n = 7), or four (n = 1) waves of follicular growth per cycle. Each wave was characterized by the development of one large (dominant) follicle and a variable number of smaller (non-dominant) follicles. In the most common pattern observed (three waves/cycle), the first, second, and third waves started on Days 1.9 +/- 0.3, 9.4 +/- 0.5, and 16.1 +/- 0.7 (X +/- SEM), respectively. The dominant follicle in the third wave was the ovulatory follicle. The maximal size and the growth rate of the dominant follicle in the second wave were significantly lower than in the other waves, but no significant difference was observed between the first and third waves. For the two heifers that had two follicular waves/cycle, the waves started on Days 2 and 11, whereas in the remaining heifer (four waves/cycle), the waves began on Days 2, 8, 14, and 17, respectively. At 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 days before estrus, the ovulatory follicle was the largest follicle in the ovaries in 100%, 95%, 74%, 35%, and 25% of follicular phases monitored, respectively. The relative size of the preovulatory follicle at the completion of luteolysis (progesterone less than 1 ng/ml) was negatively correlated (r = -0.90; p less than 0.0001) with the interval of time between the end of luteolysis and the luteinizing hormone surge, suggesting that the length of proestrus is determined by the size of the pre-ovulatory follicle at the beginning of proestrus. In conclusion, this study shows that the development of ovarian follicles greater than or equal to 5 mm in heifers occurs in waves and that the most common pattern is three waves per estrous cycle.
This study establishes that ovulated female goldfish release F type prostaglandins (PGFs) to the water where they stimulate male spawning behavior and comprise the goldfish postovulatory pheromone. We first demonstrated that ovulated and prostaglandin-injected female goldfish release immunoreactive PGFs to the water. Next, using electro-olfactogram recording (EOG), we determined that waterborne prostaglandins function as potent olfactory stimulants for mature male goldfish. Prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2 alpha) and its metabolite 15-keto-prostaglandin F2 alpha (15K-PGF2 alpha) were the most potent prostaglandins; the former had a detection threshold of 10(-10) M and the latter a detection threshold of 10(-12) M. Studies of prostaglandin-injected fish indicated that PGF metabolites are an important component of the pheromone. Cross-adaptation experiments using the EOG demonstrated that goldfish have separate olfactory receptor sites for PGF2 alpha and 15K-PGF2 alpha that are independent from those that detect other olfactory stimulants. Finally, we established that male goldfish exposed to low concentrations of waterborne PGFs exhibit reproductive behaviors similar to those elicited by exposure to the odor of ovulated fish. Together with our recent discovery that a steroidal maturational hormone functions as a preovulatory "priming" pheromone for goldfish, these findings suggest that hormones and their metabolites may commonly serve as reproductive pheromones in fish.
The failure of hamster 2-cell embryos to develop in vitro (2-cell block) was examined with experiments in which concentrations of glucose and phosphate in the culture medium were varied. Embryos were cultured in a protein-free modified Tyrode's solution that normally contains 5.0 mM glucose and 0.35 mM sodium dihydrogen phosphate. In the presence of 0.35 mM phosphate but without glucose, 23% of 2-cell embryos reached the 4-cell stage or further after culture for 1 day and 27% after 2 days. Glucose inhibited embryo development even at 0.1 mM (4% development to greater than or equal to 4-cells after culture for 2 days); there was no dose-related inhibition above this glucose concentration. In a second experiment, phosphate levels were varied in the absence of glucose. Phosphate was highly inhibitory to development, with 97% of 2-cell embryos reaching the 4-cell stage or further after culture for 1 day in the absence of phosphate compared to 9-21% in the presence of 0.1-1.05 mM phosphate. After culture for 2 days, 26% of embryos reached the 8-cell stage or further when phosphate was absent compared to 0% development to 8-cells with 0.1 mM phosphate or higher. In a factorial experiment, phosphate blocked development when glucose was present or absent, whereas glucose did not block embryo development in the absence of phosphate. However, 2-deoxyglucose (a non-metabolizable analogue of glucose) inhibited embryo development in the absence of phosphate. These data show that the in vitro block to development of hamster 2-cell embryos is caused at least in part by glucose and/or phosphate. Deletion of these compounds from the culture medium eliminates the 2-cell block to development in virtually all embryos, and approximately 25-75% of embryos develop to the 8-cell or morula stages in vitro. The observations provide a possible explanation for the 2-cell and 4-cell blocks that occur in conventional culture media: stimulation of glycolysis by glucose and/or phosphate may result in inefficient adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. The data indicate marked dissimilarities in the regulation of in vitro development of early cleavage stage hamster embryos compared with embryos of inbred mice, since the latter have an inactive glycolytic pathway prior to the 8-cell stage of development and will grow from 1-cell to blastocyst with both phosphate and glucose in the culture medium.
The first six genetically verified nuclear transplant rabbits have been produced in this study. Individual eight-cell stage embryo blastomeres were transferred and fused with enucleated mature oocytes of which six full-term offspring were produced out of 164 manipulated eggs. The following efficiency rates were determined for the nuclear transplantation procedure: chromosomal removal from oocytes, 92%; fusion rate, 84%; activation rate, 46%; embryo transfer rate, 27%. Additional reasons for the low efficiency rate of nuclear transplant embryos may include limited development due to aging in recipient oocytes and asynchronous transfers of manipulated embryos to recipient females. The successful development to term may have been due to the ability of the mature oocyte to reprogram the eight-cell stage nuclei. The number of cells in blastocysts derived from isolated eight-cell blastomeres (18 +/- .08) was lower than that of nonmanipulated pronuclear (106 +/- 5.1) and nuclear transplant embryos derived from eight-cell stage nuclei (91 +/- 10.2) (p less than 0.001). This evidence along with the significant amount of nuclear swelling in nuclear transplant embryos and a delay in the time of blastocyst formation indicate that nuclear reprogramming had taken place in these embryos. Successful nuclear reprogramming indicates that serial transfers could result in the expanded multiplication of mammalian embryos.
Bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC) (n = 4230) were used in this study to assess the effects of culture method, hormonal supplementation, and cumulus cell concentration on maturation, fertilization and development of resulting embryos. Five treatments were evaluated. 1) 10 COC/50-microliter drops under oil in TCM 199 supplemented with 10% heat-treated fetal calf serum, follicle-stimulating hormone (0.5 microgram/ml), luteinizing hormone (5 micrograms/ml), and estradiol-17 beta (1 microgram/ml); 2) as in 1 without hormones; 3) as in 1 but in 3 ml TCM-199 in petri dishes without paraffin oil; 4) as in 2 but only 1 COC/50-microliter drop; and 5) as in 1 but with denuded oocytes. After 24 h maturation, the frequencies of oocytes reaching metaphase II were 98, 84, 92, 93, and 87%, respectively, for the five treatments. In the same order, percentages of normal fertilization were 73, 70, 62, 81, and 62%, and the frequencies of embryos containing two or more blastomeres at 65 h postinsemination were 69, 82, 66, 51, and 43%. The same five treatments were used in a second study in which 3,199 oocytes were fertilized, allowed to cleave in vitro to the 2- to 3-cell stage (42 h postinsemination), and transferred to oviducts of sheep (one treatment/oviduct) for 4 days. The frequencies of morulae or blastocytes obtained were 28, 18, 23, 24, and 11% for the five treatments, respectively. After nonsurgical transfer to bovine recipients (n = 8) using fresh or frozen-thawed embryos, three pregnancies past 50 days were obtained. Only one went to term with the birth of a live heifer calf.
We have used two approaches to test the ability of the human zona pellucida to induce acrosome reactions in human sperm. First, nonviable human oocytes were incubated for 1 min in a suspension of capacitated sperm (of which fewer than 5% were acrosome-reacted) to allow binding of about 200 sperm per oocyte. Some of the oocytes were fixed immediately, and the remainder were fixed after a further 1-h incubation without free-swimming sperm. As determined by light microscopy, sperm on the zona were only 3 +/- 2% (avg. +/- SD) acrosome-reacted at 1 min, and the incidence increased to 46 +/- 15% during the next hour. Electron microscopy confirmed that most sperm on the zona at 1 min were acrosome-intact. A few sperm were in an early stage of the acrosome reaction. Acrosome reactions occurring on the zona during the subsequent hour appeared to be morphologically normal. Second, treatment of sperm in suspension with acid-disaggregated zonae (2 to 4 zonae/microliter) increased the incidence of acrosome-reacted sperm from 3 +/- 1% to 24 +/- 4%. We conclude that the human zona pellucida, or material intimately associated with it, can induce acrosome reactions in human sperm.
Thecal vascular tissue and blood cells were studied by light, transmission, and scanning electron microscopy during ovulation in the ewe. Cross-sectional areas of vascular lumens increased after the preovulatory surge in luteinizing hormone, decreased before ovulation, and then increased again as corpora lutea formed. Numbers of blood vessels per unit area of thecal tissue declined just before ovulation, then increased during luteinization. The follicular stigma that develops near the time of ovulation was completely void of blood vessels. These findings were paralleled chronologically by evidence of vasodilation, increased vascular permeability, tissue edema, congestion, ischemia, vascular injury, and angiogenesis. Neutrophils and eosinophils migrated out of the vascular compartment before ovulation. Around the time of ovulation, there were masses of extravasated blood in thecal tissue, and numerous platelets adhered to damaged vascular endothelium. Extravasated monocytes/macrophages were evident after ovulation. Numbers of extravascular lymphocytes remained relatively constant, but the lymphocytes were often marginated along endothelium in ovulatory and postovulatory follicles. Basophilic cells accumulated in association with the development of new capillaries during luteinization. Our observations are consistent with the concept that periovulatory follicular processes include acute inflammation, tissue damage, glandular transformation, and healing.
The protein composition of the fibrous sheath (FS) and the outer dense fibers (ODF), two cytoskeletal components of the tail of spermatozoa, was compared by using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunochemistry applied to Western blots and to spermatozoa. Isolated FS and ODF, the purity of which were verified by electron microscopy (EM), were denatured and either run on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels or used to raise antibodies. The gels revealed at least 18 and 14 polypeptide bands for the FS and ODF, respectively. The major bands of the FS had molecular masses of 75, 27.5, and 14.4 kDa, whereas the major bands of the ODF-connecting piece had molecular masses of 32-26, 20, 14.4, 84, and 80 kDa. Several prominent FS and ODF bands were found to comigrate on gels, and the 14.4 kDa polypeptides had similar electrophoretic properties. Anti-FS serum reacted with the majority of Western blot-transferred FS polypeptides, but also cross-reacted strongly with a major 14.4 kDa ODF polypeptide and with less affinity to other major ODF polypeptides. Anti-ODF serum reacted with the majority of ODF polypeptides, but also cross-reacted strongly with a major 14.4 kDa FS polypeptide, and with less affinity to several other FS polypeptides including the 75 kDa band. Antibodies affinity-purified from the 14.4 kDa FS polypeptide only cross-reacted with the 14.4 kDa ODF polypeptide, whereas antibodies purified from the 14.4 kDa ODF polypeptide cross-reacted with 14.4, 27.5, 57, and 63 kDa FS polypeptides. The immunocross-reactions observed on Western blots were confirmed by immunocytochemical methods applied to spermatozoa. This study demonstrates that the FS and ODF, both composed of many polypeptides, several having similar molecular weights, are related cytoskeletal structures as they have epitopes in common, and both contain 14.4 kDa polypeptides with common antigenic and electrophoretic properties.
We have studied the distribution of histochemically detectable alkaline phosphatase in cultures of seminiferous tubule fragments and of peritubular cells from prepubertal rats. The same material also was immunohistochemically evaluated for the presence of desmin-containing intermediate filaments. The comparative analysis of alkaline phosphatase and desmin positivity shows that alkaline phosphatase histochemistry selectively detects desmin-containing contractile cells in tubular and peritubular cell cultures. We propose alkaline phosphatase as a novel marker for myoid cells that can be of help in screening, defining, and eventually standardizing the exact composition of peritubular cell cultures, a model that is of increasing interest in the study of cellular interactions in the testis.
To assess the structural stability of mammalian sperm nuclei and make interspecies comparisons, we microinjected sperm nuclei from six different species into hamster oocytes and monitored the occurrence of sperm nuclear decondensation and male pronucleus formation. The time course of sperm decondensation varied considerably by species: human and mouse sperm nuclei decondensed within 15 to 30 min of injection, and chinchilla and hamster sperm nuclei did so within 45 to 60 min, but bull and rat sperm nuclei remained intact over this same period of time. Male pronuclei formed in oocytes injected with human, mouse, chinchilla, and hamster sperm nuclei, but rarely in oocytes injected with bull or rat sperm nuclei. However, when bull sperm nuclei were pretreated with dithiothreitol (DTT) in vitro to reduce protamine disulfide bonds prior to microinjection, they subsequently decondensed and formed pronuclei in the hamster ooplasm. Condensed rat spermatid nuclei, which lack disulfide bonds, behaved similarly. The same six species of sperm nuclei were induced to undergo decondensation in vitro by treatment with DTT and detergent, and the resulting changes in nuclear size were monitored by phase-contrast microscopy and flow cytometry. As occurred in the oocyte, human sperm nuclei decondensed the fastest in vitro, followed shortly by chinchilla, mouse, and hamster and, after a lag, by rat and bull sperm nuclei. Thus species differences in sperm nuclear stability exist and appear to be related to the extent and/or efficiency of disulfide bonding in the sperm nuclei, a feature that may, in turn, be determined by the type(s) of sperm nuclear protamine(s) present.
Techniques were established for the extraction and measurement of 17 beta-estradiol (E2) and progestins (P4) from feces of Old World primates. Studies were conducted to show the sensitivity of these measures, means of preserving fecal samples in the field, effects of urinary contamination, and means to eliminate these effects. Our results show that excreted steroid measures can be used to distinguish between mid-follicular and luteal phases in the menstrual cycle, and to identify pregnancy by Day 20 of gestation; the steroid measures can also be used to identify ovulatory levels of E2 and to establish the length of the menstrual cycle. Urine was shown to contaminate the fecal sample and to confound the estimate of steroid levels in feces; prolonged storage (less than 6 h) was shown to change the steroid estimate. Both urinary contamination and storage-dependent changes were eliminated by the addition of ethanol to the sample. Preliminary results also suggest that effects of dietary fiber on steroid hormone levels are minimal when controlled quantitatively by adjusting for water content of the fecal sample. We conclude that these measurements of excreted steroids provide a valid, noninvasive measure of physiological state of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis among free-ranging animals in the field.
The occurence and time course of capacitation, acrosomal loss, and hyperactivated motility require quantitative definition in order to characterize fertile human sperm. In this study, video microscopy and digital image analysis were used to measure curvilinear (VCL) and straight line (VSL) velocity, average linearity of progression (LIN [100 x VSL/VCL]), maximum and mean amplitude of lateral head displacement (ALH), beat-cross-frequency (BCF), DANCE (VCL x meanALH) and DANCEMEAN (meanALH/(LIN/100]. These parameters were measured for sperm in semen and in the swim-up fraction of washed cells during incubation for up to 24 h under in vitro fertilization (IVF) conditions. Acrosomal loss was monitored in the same population of washed cells by an immunofluorescence end-point assay. The greatest increase in mean values of motility parameters was observed when seminal sperm were washed free of seminal plasma. Increases continued for up to 6 h of incubation. Two subpopulations of hyperactivated sperm were identified; one type, not found in semen, showed star-spin trajectories, and constituted 3.0, 3.8, 4.5, and 4.1% of the swim-up population after 0, 3, 6 and 24 h of incubation. The second type, termed transitional showed a more progressive trajectory and constituted less than 1% in semen. In total, hyperactivated cells constituted 0.8% of cells in semen, 14.5% of the swim-up population with no incubation, and 23.1, 22.7, and 19.4% after 3, 6, and 24 h of incubation, respectively. Acrosomal loss in the swim-up population was delayed during the first 3 h of incubation, then increased from near 5% at 3 h to 7 and 12% at 6 and 24 h, respectively.
Bovine follicular oocytes (N = 5991) were exposed to an analog of cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP), dibutyryl cyclic AMP (db-cAMP) (2.5, 5, and 10 mM), the phosphodiesterase inhibitor isobutyl methyl xanthine (IBMX, 0.2 mM), or the purine, hypoxanthine (0.5, 1.0, 2.0 mM), and the nucleoside, adenosine (0.05, 0.1, 0.2 mM), for 6 or 21 h to assess their effects on oocyte nuclear maturation. Potential effects of bovine follicular fluid (BFF) were also evaluated after different preculture washing procedures. In a separate experiment, denuded oocytes were used to study the effect of cumulus removal on meiotic inhibition. Db-cAMP decreased the frequency of germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) at 6 h (88% for control and 51%, 45%, and 32% for 2.5, 5, and 10 mM concentrations, respectively). IBMX had a comparable effect with only 41% of the oocytes resuming meiosis. Hypoxanthine and adenosine alone or in combinations also decreased the number of oocytes undergoing GVBD at 6 h. Only 22% GVBD occurred when the combined highest concentration of both substances was used compared to 88% in controls. If oocytes were incubated in 50% BFF after a wash in control medium during processing, 56% would resume meiosis at 6 h vs. 35% if the washing procedure included inhibitors (db-cAMP + IBMX). Total BFF (100%) during washing and maturation prevented 72% of the oocytes from resuming meiosis. Db-cAMP and IMBX combined or BFF also inhibited meiotic resumption of denuded oocytes. At 21 h, the inhibitory effects were less pronounced, with most oocytes only delayed in completing the first reduction division.
This study provides quantitative information on the testes of seasonally breeding golden hamsters during active and regressed states of gonadal activity. Seminiferous tubules occupied 92.5% of testis volume in adult gonadally active animals. Leydig cells constituted 1.4% of the testicular volume. The mean volume of an individual Leydig cell was 1092 microns 3, and each testis contained about 25.4 million Leydig cells. The volume of an average Sertoli cell nucleus during stage VII-VIII of the cycle was 502 microns 3. A gram of hamster testis during the active state of gonadal activity contained 44.5 million Sertoli cells, and the entire testis contained approximately 73.8 million Sertoli cells. Testes of the hamsters exposed to short photoperiods for 12-13 wk displayed a 90% reduction in testis volume that was associated with a decrease in the volume of seminiferous tubules (90.8% reduction), tubular lumena (98.8%), interstitium (72.7%), Leydig cell compartment (79.3%), individual Leydig cells (69.7%), Leydig cell nuclei (50.0%), blood vessels (85.5%), macrophages (68.9%), and Sertoli cell nuclei (34.1%). The diameter (61.1%) and the length (36.8%) of the seminiferous tubules were also decreased. Although the number of Leydig cells per testis was significantly lower (p less than 0.02) after short-photoperiod exposure, the number of Sertoli cells per testis remained unchanged. The individual Sertoli cell in gonadally active hamsters accommodated, on the average, 2.27 pre-leptotene spermatocytes, 2.46 pachytene spermatocytes, and 8.17 round spermatids; the corresponding numbers in the regressed testes were 0.96, 0.20, and 0.04, respectively. The striking differences in the testicular structure between the active and regressed states of gonadal activity follow photoperiod-induced changes in endocrine function and suggest that the golden hamster may be used as a model to study structure-function relationships in the testis.
Empirical evaluation of variables affecting oocyte collection, in vitro fertilization, and embryo transfer resulted in establishing a successful procedure for the artificial production of offspring in the domestic cat. Female cats were treated with pregnant mare's serum gonadotropin (PMSG, 150 IU) followed 72 or 80 h later with 100 or 200 IU human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). After laparoscopic collection, follicular oocytes were inseminated in vitro with ejaculated, processed spermatozoa, cultured (37 degrees C, 5% CO2), and then examined for evidence of fertilization. Two- to 4-cell stage embryos were transferred to the oviducts of oocyte donors. Oocyte donor cats and naturally mated controls also were subjected to sequential laparoscopic examinations and blood sampling to assess corpora lutea (CL) function. At 24-30 h of culture, fewer (p less than 0.001) degenerate oocytes were observed in cats receiving 100 IU hCG (8.2%) compared to those receiving 200 IU (20.6%), regardless of the PMSG-hCG interval. Overall fertilization (48.1%) and cleavage (45.2%, at 30 h post-insemination) rates were greatest following an 80-h PMSG-hCG interval combined with the 100 IU hCG dose. Five of the 6 cats receiving 6 to 18 embryos became pregnant and produced from 1 to 4 kittens/litter. Gonadotropin-treated females subjected to follicular aspiration produced morphologically normal CL and circulating progesterone patterns that were qualitatively similar (p greater than 0.05) to control cats. These data indicate that domestic cat follicular oocytes are capable of fertilization in vitro, but success is dependent on both the timing and dose of the hCG stimulus. Follicles subjected to aspiration appear capable of forming normal, functional CL and the birth of live young after embryo transfer unequivocally demonstrates, for the first time, the developmental competence of in vitro-fertilized carnivore oocytes.
The longitudinal pattern of reproductive senescence was described in individual female rats from 4 to 18-22 mo of age. There were two subgroups of rats with different patterns of aging. The Constant Estrus (CE) subgroup progressed through regular cycles, irregular cycles, and constant estrus, followed by a return to irregular cycles, and then persistent diestrus. In contrast, the Irregular subgroup skipped constant estrus, maintaining irregular cycles until they entered persistent diestrus. In both subgroups, irregular cycles were a transition between the major reproductive states, although the type of transition was different in each subgroup. In the CE subgroup, the transition was gradual, continuous, and began with the onset of irregular cycles. In contrast, in the Irregular subgroup, the transition did not begin until the end of irregular cycles, suggesting that the process of aging was delayed. Most rats entered constant lordosis, a state characterized by a strong lordosis reflex that could be elicited by manual palpation on each day. The CE subgroup maintained the state once they entered it, whereas the Irregular subgroup intermittently returned to a lordosis reflex intensity characteristic of young rats. In addition, in the CE subgroup, but not the Irregular subgroup, changes in lordosis reflex intensity during aging were coupled to changes in the proportion of estrogenized vaginal smears during the cycle.
Isolated Sertoli cells were cultured on MatrigelTM-coated Millipore filters in bicameral chambers. The Sertoli cells form confluent epithelial sheets that, by virtue of the Sertoli cell tight junctions, form transepithelial permeability barriers between the apical and basal domains of the cells. These Sertoli cells secrete metabolically labeled proteins in a polarized manner. Three peptides, P1 (pI = 4.5-5.0, MW = 70,000), P2 (pI = 4.5-5.0, MW = 50,000), and P3 (pI = 4.0-4.7, MW = 34,000) are secreted apically from the epithelial sheets of Sertoli cells and are not found in basal secretions from the same Sertoli cells. Pachytene spermatocyte-conditioned medium contains proteins released from the germ cells that are uniquely different from the Sertoli cell-secreted proteins. Addition of the pachytene spermatocyte-conditioned medium to the apical reservoir of the bicameral chambers over an epithelial sheet of Sertoli cells stimulated the synthesis and secretion of total protein, transferrin, and specifically induced peptides S1 and S2 from Sertoli cells. As controls, conditioned medium from 3T3 fibroblasts and round spermatids did not stimulate the Sertoli cells. Hence, the ability of pachytene spermatocyte proteins to induce specific Sertoli cell secretion indicates that the pachytene spermatocytes are able to influence their surrounding milieu, and provides further support to the concept of a paracrine interaction between germ cells and Sertoli cells during spermatogenesis.
Heads of spermatozoa were sonically separated from tails and treated in 1 N NaOH until the perforatoria were partially detached from the nucleus. Their complete detachment was then assured by repeatedly passing the suspension through a 22-gauge needle. The perforatoria were then separated from nuclei on sucrose gradients and the purity of the fraction was verified by electron microscopy. The isolated perforatoria were denatured and used to raise antibodies or run on polycrylamide gels. Such gels revealed many polypeptide bands, six of which were most prominent (Mr approximately 13,000, 13,400, 16,000, 33,000, 35,000, and 43,000). Of these, the 16,000 Mr polypeptide was major. Anti-perforatorium serum reacted with the perforatoria of fixed spermatozoa, with a substance found between the plasmalemma and the outer acrosomal membrane of the acrosomal head cap and with the inner component of the ventral spur, but not with the postacrosomal dense lamina. This observation indicated that the perforatorium and dense lamina, although structurally continuous to form the perinuclear theca, are biochemically distinct. On Western blots, the anti-perforatorium serum reacted with the prominent polypeptides of the perforatorium and cross-reacted with some less prominent polypeptides of the fibrous sheath (FS) and outer dense fibers (ODF), most notably with a 16,000 Mr polypeptide found in both. Likewise anti-FS or anti-ODF serum cross-reacted with some major and minor polypeptides of the perforatorium, again most notably with a major 16,000 Mr polypeptide. The immunocross-reactions observed on Western blots were confirmed by immunocytochemical methods applied to spermatozoa. These results demonstrate that the perforatorium is composed of several polypeptides, is immunologically distinct from the postacrosomal dense lamina, may be immunologically similar to a substance found between the plasmalemma and outer acrosomal membrane and to a substance found on the inner aspect of the ventral spur, has antigenic determinants in common with the FS and ODF, and may share a 16,000 Mr polypeptide with these two cytoskeletal structures of the flagellum.