We evaluated the effect of glycerol on the perinuclear theca (PT) of boar sperm. Samples from six ejaculates obtained from three different boars were incubated in the detergent Brij 36-T. Spermatozoa were treated with a glycerol concentration of either 2 or 4%, and incubated for 10 or 30 min; two other samples were treated with protease inhibitors (PI; leupeptin or an inhibitor commercial cocktail), mixed with 4% glycerol, and incubated for 30 min. A third glycerol-free group was used as the control. The samples were processed for electron microscopy evaluation. The PT remained intact in 78% of the control samples while, after addition of glycerol for 30 min, the proportion of spermatozoa with disrupted or absent PT increased (P < 0.05). PT was preserved in PI samples, but PT changes increased (P < 0.05). Differences due to treatment with glycerol (2 or 4%) at 10 or 30 min were not observed. These results show, to our knowledge for the first time, the adverse effect of glycerol on the integrity of the PT.