2006 Volume 52 Issue 2 Pages 249-257
In the pig, a temporal relationship is suggested between sperm release from the sperm reservoir (SR) and ovulation, but the mechanism(s) is still under discussion. In two experiments, the influence of transferred ova on the release of SR-spermatozoa at ovulation and the effect of supplementation with non-sulfated glycosaminglycan hyaluronan (HA) on embryo development and the number of accessory spermatozoa, respectively, were examined. PMSG/hCG primed ovectomized gilts that had previously received endoscopic low-dose insemination into the cranial uterine horn were used as an experimental model. After salpingectomy, tubal segments (ampulla, cranial, and caudal isthmus) were flushed and sperm numbers or respective accessory spermatozoa were counted. In Experiment 1, the distribution of the sperm population was altered in the presence of cumulus-oocyte-complexes (COCs). A higher proportion of spermatozoa was found after transfer of COCs into one oviduct in the ampulla and cranial isthmus segments compared with the controls (17.5 vs. 4.9%, p<0.05). In Experiment 2, the quality of the transferred ova and treatment influenced the presence of accessory spermatozoa. Transfer of COCs together with HA increased (p<0.05) the number of accessory spermatozoa compared with the other treatment groups and was similar to those in the "undisturbed" controls. No modifications were obtained regarding mean blastomere numbers (2.6 ± 0.2 to 3.1 ± 0.2). In summary, this study was demonstrated that cumulus-oocyte-complexes may be involved in triggering sperm release from the pig oviductal SR and that HA might be related to sperm release.