Merck

Lactic acid is a sperm motility inactivation factor in the sperm storage tubules.

Scientific reports (2015-12-02)
Mei Matsuzaki, Shusei Mizushima, Gen Hiyama, Noritaka Hirohashi, Kogiku Shiba, Kazuo Inaba, Tomohiro Suzuki, Hideo Dohra, Toshiyuki Ohnishi, Yoshikatsu Sato, Tetsuya Kohsaka, Yoshinobu Ichikawa, Yusuke Atsumi, Takashi Yoshimura, Tomohiro Sasanami
RESUMO

Although successful fertilization depends on timely encounters between sperm and egg, the decoupling of mating and fertilization often confers reproductive advantages to internally fertilizing animals. In several vertebrate groups, postcopulatory sperm viability is prolonged by storage in specialized organs within the female reproductive tract. In birds, ejaculated sperm can be stored in a quiescent state within oviductal sperm storage tubules (SSTs), thereby retaining fertilizability for up to 15 weeks at body temperature (41°C); however, the mechanism by which motile sperm become quiescent within SSTs is unknown. Here, we show that low oxygen and high lactic acid concentrations are established in quail SSTs. Flagellar quiescence was induced by lactic acid in the concentration range found in SSTs through flagellar dynein ATPase inactivation following cytoplasmic acidification (<pH 6.0). The long-term preservation of sperm morphology under hypoxic and high temperature conditions indicates that a combination of these factors enables sperm cells to survive during the ovulation cycles. Our findings suggested a novel physiological role for lactic acid in promoting sperm quiescence in SSTs and opened up a new opportunity for technological improvement in prolonging sperm longevity at ambient or body temperature.

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