Autometallographic demonstration of zinc ions in rat sperm cells

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An in-vitro technique for autometallographic (AMG) demonstration of chelatable zinc in electroejaculated sperm cells and spermatozoa from the epididymis is presented and the localization of zinc ions in rat spermatozoa is described. Sperm cells from caput epididymis showed zinc staining in all parts of the tail and a sparse, dispersed staining in the acrosome. Spermatozoa from cauda epididymis showed heavy staining in the acrosome but no staining in the tail, or post-acrosomal part of the sperm head. This distinct acrosomal AMG staining was also found in ejaculated spermatozoa, but additionally a segmentation of the tail was seen based on differences in staining intensity. The membrane penetrating chelator diethyldithiocarbamate (DEDTC) was found to block the AMG staining whereas calcium-EDTA, known not to pass through cell membranes, did not influence the staining, proving that the detected zinc ions are intracellularly located. Two different approaches for demonstrating the presence of a chelatable zinc pool at electron microscope levels are presented, and the ultrastructural presence of AMG grains located in the acrosome and in the mitochondria of the midpiece is demonstrated. It is postulated that an exchange of zinc ions takes place between the epididymal epithelium and the sperm cells as they pass along the epididymal duct.
TidsskriftMolecular Human Reproduction
Sider (fra-til)763-7
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - 1997

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