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Simultaneous evaluation of plasma membrane integrity, acrosomal integrity, and mitochondrial membrane potential in bovine spermatozoa by flow cytometry

  • Chihiro Kanno (a1), Sung-Sik Kang (a1), Yasuyuki Kitade (a1), Yojiro Yanagawa (a1), Yoshiyuki Takahashi (a1) and Masashi Nagano (a2)...


The present study aimed to develop an objective evaluation procedure to estimate the plasma membrane integrity, acrosomal integrity, and mitochondrial membrane potential of bull spermatozoa simultaneously by flow cytometry. Firstly, we used frozen–thawed semen mixed with 0, 25, 50, 75 or 100% dead spermatozoa. Semen was stained using three staining solutions: SYBR-14, propidium iodide (PI), and phycoerythrin-conjugated peanut agglutinin (PE–PNA), for the evaluation of plasma membrane integrity and acrosomal integrity. Then, characteristics evaluated by flow cytometry and by fluorescence microscopy were compared. Characteristics of spermatozoa (viability and acrosomal integrity) evaluated by flow cytometry and by fluorescence microscopy were found to be similar. Secondly, we attempted to evaluate the plasma membrane integrity, acrosomal integrity, and also mitochondrial membrane potential of spermatozoa by flow cytometry using conventional staining with three dyes (SYBR-14, PI, and PE–PNA) combined with MitoTracker Deep Red (MTDR) staining (quadruple staining). The spermatozoon characteristics evaluated by flow cytometry using quadruple staining were then compared with those of staining using SYBR-14, PI, and PE–PNA and staining using SYBR-14 and MTDR. There were no significant differences in all characteristics (viability, acrosomal integrity, and mitochondrial membrane potential) evaluated by quadruple staining and the other procedures. In conclusion, quadruple staining using SYBR-14, PI, PE–PNA, and MTDR for flow cytometry can be used to evaluate the plasma membrane integrity, acrosomal integrity, and mitochondrial membrane potential of bovine spermatozoa simultaneously.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: M. Nagano. Laboratory of Theriogenology, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita-ku Kita 18 Nishi 9, Sapporo 060-0818, Japan. Tel:/Fax: +81 11 706 5231. E-mail:


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  • ISSN: 0967-1994
  • EISSN: 1469-8730
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