Estimation of the frequency of malformed sperm by slit scan flow cytometry

J. Halamka, J. W. Gray, B. L. Gledhill, S. Lake, A. J. Wyrobek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We have investigated the utility of Slit Scan Flow Cytometry (SSFCM) for measuring the frequencies of malformed sperm heads in control and mutagen treated B6C3F1/CRL mice. In SSFCM, fluorescence profiles of sperm heads stained with the DNA‐specific fluorescent dye acriflavine were recorded for sperm flowing lengthwise through a 2.5‐μ‐thick laser beam. Malformed sperm were detected as having fluorescence profiles that differed substantially from an average fluorescence profile for sperm from untreated mice. Specifically, a sum of squared difference (SSD) value was calculated for the fluorescence profile of each sperm according to the equation (Formula Presented.) where c(i) and t(i) are the ith values for the fluorescence profiles from control and test sperm, respectively. Profiles whose SSD exceeded a threshold value of 20 were considered to be from malformed sperm. We measured fluorescence profiles for 500 sperm per mouse from five control mice, five mice injected intraperitoneally daily for 5 days with a total of 375 mg/kg of body weight methyl methane sulfonate (MMS), and for 30 mice injected intraperitoneally daily for 5 days with total doses of procarbazine ranging from 125 mg/kg to 1,250 mg/kg. Sperm were collected from the caudae epididymides 35 days after the last injection. Frequencies of malformed sperm in these samples were also estimated by visual analysis. All samples were analyzed in double blind fashion. The visual and SSFCM malformed sperm frequencies for the samples from control, MMS‐treated, and procarbazine‐treated mice were correlated (r = 0.83). A dose effect was seen with both the visual and SSFCM estimates for the sperm from the procarbazine‐treated mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • B6C3F1/CRL mice
  • methylmethane sulfonate
  • procarbazine
  • slit‐scan flow cytometry
  • sperm morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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