Vet World. 2023 Jun;16(6):1325-1332. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2023.1325-1332. Epub 2023 Jun 13.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Sperm maturation occurs in the epididymis through interactions with existing molecules inside the lumen. However, the mechanism of epididymis molecular transfer is currently unclear. This study was aimed to determine the necessity of the epididymal epithelial cells (EECs) in the process of sperm maturation in terms of sperm kinetics and tyrosine phosphorylation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A true experimental research design was used in this study. The medium tested was a primary culture of mice caput epididymal cells (cells and culture medium), conditioned medium (CM) (supernatant of EECs), and secretome (CM filtered at 0.22 μm). Sperm was cocultured in EEC culture, CM, and secretome for 1, 2, 3, or 4 h. The original culture medium was used as the control. Sperm kinetic analysis was performed after the indicated times using computer-assisted sperm analysis, and tyrosine phosphorylation was detected using the Western blot technique.
RESULTS: A primary culture of caput EECs was successfully generated. The results showed increased sperm motility and progressive movement after 3 h of incubation (p < 0.05). There was a significant decrease in the average path velocity (VAP) values after 4 h of incubation (p < 0.05), but there was no significant change in the 1, 2, and 3 h incubation groups. The EEC culture-CM and secretome groups showed a significant increased progressivity and VAP percentage values compared with the control medium (p < 0.05). In terms of percentage motility, the culture and CM groups were significantly different from the control medium, but the secretome group was not.
CONCLUSION: The sperm kinetics of sperm cultured in CM, secretome, and EEC were significantly increased after 3 h of incubation, suggesting that CM and secretome can be used to replace EECs, especially when analyzing molecules secreted by the epididymal epithelium during sperm maturation. The results of this study highlight the potential of CM and secretome as therapy mediums for sperm kinetic abnormalities.