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Diagnostic significance of sperm-zona pellucida interaction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2009

Sergio Oehninger*
The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Sergio Oehninger, Assistant Professor, The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, 601 Colley Avenue, Sixth Floor, Norfolk, Virginia 23507, USA.
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Spermatozoa binding to the zona pellucida is an early, critical event leading to fertilization and early pre-embryo development. Fertilization involves a complex and orderly sequence of events that is completed at syngamy, which is defined as the union of the two sets of haploid chromosomes to form a new diploid fertilized ovum (zygote). In order to be able to fertilize an oocyte, spermatozoa need to undergo a process called ‘capacitation’, which is usually defined as a series of changes that renders the sperm cells capable of undergoing the acrosome reaction. This process that naturally occurs within the female genital tract is possible under in vitro conditions. However, capacitation is not the only process spermatozoa must undergo to fertilize the oocytes successfully. To fertilize an oocyte, spermatozoa must also be at least highly motile, as well as being capable of undergoing the acrosome reaction timely, penetrating through the oocyte investments and fusing with the oocyte plasma membrane properly.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1992

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