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Biol Reprod. 1999 Apr;60(4):908-13.

Sperm migration into and through the oviduct following artificial insemination at different stages of the estrous cycle in the rat.

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Unidad de Reproducción y Desarrollo, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


In order to examine whether sperm migration into and through the oviduct follows an invariable pattern or is subject to regulation, rats in proestrus, estrus, metestrus, or diestrus were inseminated in the upper third of each uterine horn with 10-20 million epididymal spermatozoa. Three or eight hours later, the numbers of spermatozoa free and adhering to the epithelium in the ampullary and isthmic segments were determined. A significantly higher number of spermatozoa were recovered in estrus than in other stages, at 3 h than at 8 h, and at all stages from the isthmus than from the ampulla. Spermatozoa adhering to the epithelium were observed only in proestrus and estrus and in the isthmus. The effect of exogenous estradiol-17beta (E2) and progesterone (P4) on sperm migration was investigated in rats in which the estrous cycle was inhibited pharmacologically. E2 facilitated sperm migration into the oviduct and P4 antagonized this effect, whereas P4 alone had no effect. Concomitant treatment with E2+P4 induced adhesion of spermatozoa to the oviductal epithelium. In conclusion, the pattern of sperm migration into and through the rat oviduct varies with the stage of the cycle, being dependent on E2 and P4. The adhesion of spermatozoa to the rat oviductal epithelium is stage- and segment-specific and requires the combined action of both hormones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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