Porcine sperm fertilizing potential in relationship to sperm functional capacities

Trish Berger, D. L. Anderson, Cecilia Penedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Fertile males vary in the fertilization efficiency of their sperm, but these differences are not readily detected with the currently routine in vitro semen analyses. Inseminating females with mixed semen containing equal numbers of sperm from two males, heterospermic insemination, is an efficient means to detect these differences in vivo. In this study, heterospermic insemination procedure was used to estimate relative in vive fertility of the nine pairs of ejaculates from 12 fertile boars. In vitro assays that model various steps in the fertilization process were used to estimate the contribution of various steps in the fertilization process to the variation in sperm fertilizing potential. These assays included sperm binding to the porcine zona pellucida (ZP), aerosomal status in conjunction with viability before and after capacitation, interaction with the hamster oocyte plasma membrane and characteristics of sperm motion. The ejaculates exhibited significant variation in sperm fertilizing potential as assessed by the heterospermic insemination procedure. The ability to interact with the oocyte plasma membrane was significantly correlated with relative in vivo fertility (R2 = 0.80; P < 0.005); the other functional characteristics of these samples were not correlated with in vivo fertility. The lack of correlation between in vivo sperm fertilizing potential and some of the functional characteristics such as motility is likely a reflection of the very limited variation in these characteristics in fertile males. The high correlation between in vivo fertility and ability of porcine sperm to interact with hamster oocyte plasma membrane suggests assessment of this interaction may improve the in vitro assessment of sperm fertilizing potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Acrosome reaction
  • Sperm-egg interaction
  • Sperm-zona
  • Zona-free hamster ova

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Porcine sperm fertilizing potential in relationship to sperm functional capacities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this