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Medium effects on capacitation and sperm penetration through the zona pellucida in inbred BALB/c spermatozoa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 July 2005

Seiji Kito
Research Center for Radiation Safety, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan
Yuki Ohta
Science Services, Chiba, Japan


Inbred BALB/c mice are one of the most difficult inbred strains to fertilize in vitro. In this study we examined the abilities of various media used for mouse in vitro fertilization (IVF) to support capacitation and sperm penetration through the zona pellucida (ZP) of inbred BALB/c spermatozoa. Media examined were TYH, M16, CZB, mWhitten medium, T6, modified Tyrode's solution (mTyrode's), mKSOM, MEM and TCM199. Modified human tubal fluid (mHTF) was used as a control medium. When sperm were capacitated and inseminated in the same medium, mHTF showed the best fertilization (approximately 80%) scored by male pronuclear formation (<26%) at 5 h post-insemination (PI). When sperm were capacitated in various media and inseminated in mHTF, sperm capacitated in TYH solution (93%) but no other media (<45%) showed a significantly higher level of sperm nuclear decondensation (SND) than mHTF at 2 h PI (approximately 65%). When sperm were capacitated in mHTF and inseminated in various media, only mTyrode's (52%) was not significantly lower than mHTF (66%) in terms of SND at 2 h PI (<49%). Sperm capacitation also was examined by chlortetracycline (CTC) staining. Sperm capacitated in TYH solution showed a significantly higher percentage of capacitation (46%) than those treated in HTF (28%) and other media (<24%). These results indicate that the best approach for IVF in the BALB/c strain is capacitation in TYH and insemination in mHTF. Poor fertilization of BALB/c may result from suboptimal conditions of sperm capacitation and insemination, and overall IVF success may differ depending on strains used.

Research Article
2005 Cambridge University Press

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