Capacitation-like changes in equine spermatozoa following cryopreservation

A. D. Thomas, Stuart A Meyers, B. A. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The primary objective of this study was to assess plasma membrane characteristics and activation of signal transduction pathways in equine spermatozoa during both in vitro capacitation and cryopreservation. Significant plasma membrane restructuring, as assessed by measurement of plasma membrane lipid disorder and phospholipid scrambling, was not observed until after cryopreservation and subsequent thawing (P < 0.05). Although in vitro capacitated cells also displayed increased plasma membrane lipid disorder and phospholipid scrambling (P < 0.05), it appeared that regulation of these events in in vitro capacitated versus cryopreserved equine spermatozoa was not identical. Addition of 5 μM staurosporine to the capacitation media reduced plasma membrane phospholipid scrambling (P < 0.05), but supplementation to the freezing extender prior to cryopreservation did not. Furthermore, progesterone was able to induce a greater degree of acrosomal exocytosis in in vitro capacitated versus frozen/thawed spermatozoa. Expression of phospholipid scramblase, a protein thought to be important in plasma membrane phospholipid scrambling, did not differ between treatments. Comparison of protein tyrosine phosphorylation patterns between in vitro capacitated and cryopreserved cells demonstrated a divergence in signal transduction. Cellular signaling in in vitro capacitated equine spermatozoa appeared to be in part dependent on activation of the cAMP/PKA pathway, whereas signaling in cryopreserved cells seemed to proceed predominantly through alternative pathways. Taken together, these data support the idea that capacitation and "cryocapacitation" are not equivalent processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1531-1550
Number of pages20
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Capacitation
  • Cryocapacitation
  • Cryopreservation
  • Equine
  • Sperm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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