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  • Author or Editor: Barry A. Ball x
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Objective—To identify the generation of the superoxide anion by equine spermatozoa.

Sample Population—Multiple ejaculates collected from 3 Thoroughbred stallions.

Procedures—Induced superoxide production by reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotides (NAD[P]H; ie, reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide [NADH] and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate [NADPH]) was measured by use of a nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction assay on whole spermatozoa and a cytochrome c reduction assay on isolated membrane fractions of spermatozoa. Localization of superoxide generation was determined by use of NBT cytochemistry.

Results—A dose-dependent increase in NBT reduction was found in the presence of NADPH, which was inhibited by superoxide dismutase (SOD). The flavoprotein inhibitor, diphenyleneiodonium (DPI; 5 or 15μM), significantly decreased NBT reduction. Cytochrome c reduction by plasma membranes of spermatozoa was significantly higher in the presence of NADPH than in its absence. Cytochemical staining of equine spermatozoa in the presence of NADPH and NADH revealed diaphorase labeling in the spermatozoon midpiece and head. This staining was inhibited by DPI and SOD.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of our study indicate that superoxide generation is associated with a membrane-associated NAD(P)H oxidase present in equine spermatozoa, although mitochondrial generation of superoxide is also detected. This oxidase may play a role in cell signaling or may also contribute to cytopathic effects associated with oxidative stress in equine spermatozoa.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate Coomassie blue staining of the acrosome of equine and canine spermatozoa.

Sample Population—Spermatozoa of 5 mixed-breed male dogs and 3 Thoroughbred stallions.

Procedure—Various proportions of intact and acrosome-damaged spermatozoa were fixed in 2% phosphate-buffered formaldehyde or 4% paraformaldehyde, smeared onto glass slides, and stained with Coomassie blue stain. Acrosomal status (damaged vs intact) was also assessed by use of flow cytometry after staining with fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated Pisum sativum agglutinin (FITC-PSA) and propidium iodide. Comparisons were made between percentages of expected and observed acrosome-intact spermatozoa in different proportions of live and flash-frozen samples; the percentages of acrosome-intact spermatozoa as determined by use of Coomassie blue staining and flow cytometry were also compared.

Results—Strong correlations were found between the expected and observed distributions of acrosome-intact spermatozoa when fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde (r2 = 0.93 and 0.89 for canine and equine spermatozoa, respectively) as well as between Coomassie blue-stained cells and those stained with FITC-PSA and assessed by use of flow cytometry (r2 = 0.96 and 0.97 for canine and equine spermatozoa, respectively). However, in canine samples that were fixed in 2% phosphate-buffered formaldehyde, these correlations were weak.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Staining with Coomassie blue stain was a simple and accurate method to evaluate the acrosome in equine and canine spermatozoa after fixation in 4% paraformaldehyde. This assay should be useful in routine evaluation of semen samples from these species.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research