Sperm capacitation is a prerequisite for successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) and therefore a focus of sperm preparation in IVF laboratories. The technology of IVF is, therefore, potentially valuable in advancing our understanding of the molecular processes that occur during sperm capacitation. We have investigated sperm capacitation induced by a commercial IVF medium compared to that occurring in standard capacitating medium (CM) typically used in a nonclinical setting. Percoll-washed spermatozoa were resuspended in Cook Sydney IVF medium, Cook Sydney IVF sperm buffer, Earle's balanced salt medium (capacitating medium) or a modified Earle's balanced salt medium [non-capacitating medium (NCM)] for up to 120 min at 37 degrees C and, if applicable, in the presence of 5% CO2 in air. Sperm protein kinase A (PKA) activity, PKA-dependent serine/threonine phosphorylation, tyrosine phosphorylation, hyperactivation and progesterone-induced acrosome reaction were evaluated. IVF medium was shown to accelerate sperm capacitation (compared with capacitating medium) as determined by tyrosine phosphorylation, sperm hyperactivation and progesterone-induced acrosome reaction. This effect was not associated with enhanced activation of PKA or increased levels of serine/threonine phosphorylation. In contrast, IVF sperm buffer (used for sperm preparation) did not stimulate sperm capacitation when incubated for up to 90 min. We have shown that different capacitating media vary strikingly in their efficacy and that this difference reflects activation of a pathway other than the well-characterized activation of soluble adenylyl cyclase/cAMP/PKA.
- Acrosome Reaction/physiology
- Culture Media
- Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases/metabolism
- Dimethyl Sulfoxide
- Enzyme Activation/physiology
- Fertilization in Vitro
- Sperm Capacitation/physiology