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This work analysed intracellular calcium stores of boar spermatozoa subjected to 'in vitro' capacitation (IVC) and subsequent progesterone-induced acrosome exocytosis (IVAE). Intracellular calcium was analysed through two calcium markers with different physico-chemical properties, Fluo-3 and Rhod-5N. Indicative parameters of IVC and IVAE were also evaluated. Fluo-3 was located at both the midpiece and the whole head. Rhod-5N was present at the sperm head. This distribution did not change in any of the assayed conditions. Induction of IVC was concomitant with an increase in both head and midpiece Ca(2+) signals. Additionally, while IVC induction was concurrent with a significant (p < 0.05) increase in sperm membrane permeability, no significant changes were observed in O2 consumption and ATP levels. Incubation of boar spermatozoa in the absence of calcium showed a loss of both Ca(2+) labellings concomitantly with the sperm's inability to achieve IVC. The absence of extracellular calcium also induced a severe decrease in the percentage of spermatozoa exhibiting high mitochondrial membrane potential (hMMP). The IVAE was accompanied by a fast increase in both Ca(2+) signalling in control spermatozoa. These peaks were either not detected or much lessened in the absence of calcium. Remarkably, Fluo-3 marking at the midpiece increased after progesterone addition to sperm cells incubated in a medium without Ca(2+) . The simultaneous addition of progesterone with the calcium chelant EGTA inhibited IVAE, and this was accompanied by a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in the intensity of progesterone Ca(2+) -induced peak, O2 consumption and ATP levels. Our results suggest that boar spermatozoa present different calcium deposits with a dynamic equilibrium among them and with the extracellular environment. Additionally, the modulation role of the intracellular calcium in spermatozoa function seems to rely on its precise localization in boar spermatozoa.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





729 - 747


acrosome exocytosis, boar spermatozoa, calcium, capacitation, motility, Acrosome Reaction, Adenosine Triphosphate, Aniline Compounds, Animals, Calcium, Egtazic Acid, Exocytosis, Male, Membrane Fluidity, Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial, Models, Biological, Oxygen, Rhodamines, Sperm Capacitation, Sperm Motility, Spermatozoa, Swine, Xanthenes