Movement characteristics of bovine epididymal spermatozoa: effects of forward motility protein and epididymal maturation.

T. S. Acott, D. F. Katz, D. D. Hoskins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Movement characteristics of untreated bovine caudal epididymal spermatozoa were compared by high-speed cinemicrography with those of theophylline-activated caput epididymal spermatozoa with and without added forward motility protein (FMP). Comparison of individual movement characteristics clearly established the importance of FMP in converting the nonprogressive motility of theophylline-activated caput sperm into the progressive swimming of mature caudal sperm. Although the total or curvilinear distance traveled in 1 sec by theophylline-activated caput sperm was not changed by the addition of FMP, the linear progression was doubled and the percentage of progressively motile sperm was tripled by this protein. Untreated caudal sperm were 80% motile and theophylline-activated caput sperm were nearly 50% motile; the percentage of motile sperm that were progressive was the same for theophylline-activated caput sperm with FMP and for untreated caudal sperm. Caput sperm without FMP roll infrequently, if at all, but caput sperm with FMP and caudal sperm roll at 4.7 Hz. The beat frequency increases significantly with the addition of FMP and is even higher for caudal sperm. The hydrodynamic power output rises concomitantly with the beat frequency. Perhaps the most striking difference between caput sperm without FMP and those with it is in the swimming paths they follow. Caput sperm without FMP exhibit frequent reversals in direction, or yawing of the sperm heads as they loop back and cross over their tails in an apparently very flexible bending. Their average swimming paths are circles. Caput sperm with FMP and caudal sperm do not show this behavior, but swim in average paths which are linear. The minimum radius of curvature of the tail of caput sperm without FMP is much smaller than that for the other two cell types. These studies clarify the role of FMP in epididymal development of sperm motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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