Effect of human tubal fluid medium and hyperactivation inducers on stallion sperm capacitation and hyperactivation

Contents Conventional in vitro fertilization has not yet been implemented in the equine species. One of the main reasons has been the inability to develop a culture medium and incubation conditions supporting high levels of stallion sperm capacitation and hyperactivation in vitro. Although different culture media have been used for this purpose, human tubal fluid (HTF) medium, widely used in the manipulation of human and mice gametes, has not been reported so far in stallion sperm culture. The first part of this study aimed to compare HTF and Whitten's media on different stallion sperm quality and capacitation variables. Additionally, the effect of procaine, aminopyridine and caffeine in both media was evaluated on sperm motility parameters at different incubation times. Integrity and destabilization of the plasma membrane were evaluated by merocyanine 540/SYTOX Green (MC540), mitochondrial membrane potential (m) using tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester perchlorate (TMRM), acrosome membrane integrity by PNA/FITC and tyrosine phosphorylation by P-tyrosine mouse mAb conjugated to Alexa Fluor (R) by flow cytometry. Motility parameters were evaluated using the integrated semen analysis system (ISAS (R)). We found no differences between Whitten's and HTF media and incubation time in terms of sperm viability, uninduced acrosome membrane damage or mitochondrial membrane potential at 30- and 120-min incubation. Membrane fluidity (MC540) increased in both media at 30- and 120-min incubation compared to noncapacitating conditions. Similarly, tyrosine phosphorylation increased in both media in capacitating conditions at 2- and 4-hr incubation compared to noncapacitating conditions. Although procaine showed the best result in terms of sperm hyperactivated motility in both media, aminopyridine also showed parameters consistent with the hyperactivation including an increase in curvilinear velocity and decrease in straightness. In conclusion, HTF medium and aminopyridine equally support capacitation-related parameters in stallion sperm.

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