Baboon spermatozoa-zona pellucida binding assay

Mary C. Mahony*, Karen Rice, Erwin Goldberg, Gustavo Doncel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study developed a baboon in vitro system that allows transport of sperm from a treatment facility to an off-site location for subsequent evaluation of sperm functional capacity. We further described a sperm functional assay that evaluates baboon sperm binding to homologous zona pellucida, a baboon hemizona assay (HZA). Semen samples were collected from baboons via electroejaculation directly into refrigeration transport buffer. Postshipment semen characteristics were analyzed and each specimen prepared for assessment of sperm-zona pellucida interaction. Optimization of the baboon HZA included determination of the relationship between motile sperm concentration and zona pellucida binding. The effect of the sperm activators, caffeine and dbcAMP, on computerized sperm motion characteristics and HZ binding was also determined. A significant motile sperm concentration dependent increase was observed in sperm-zona pellucida binding. Maximal binding was observed at approximately 1-2 million motile sperm/mL. Treatment with the sperm activators, caffeine and dbcAMP, resulted in a significant increase in sperm progressive motility, straightline velocity (VSL), and amplitude of lateral head displacement (ALH), p <0.05 and a highly significant increase in curvilinear velocity (VCL), p <0.01. Treatment with caffeine and dbcAMP was not an absolute requirement for sperm-zona pellucida binding, inasmuch as binding did occur in the absence of activators. However, treatment with the two activators, caffeine and dbcAMP, resulted in a highly significant increase in HZ binding, p <0.0001. This system allows for the short-term maintenance of baboon sperm in a semiquiescent state until stimulation with the activators, caffeine and dbcAMP. It further provides a novel approach to delineating a contraceptive regimen's or agent's (ie, sperm vaccine) impact on specific cellular events occurring in the male gamete during fertilization. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-240
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


  • Baboon
  • Fertility regulation
  • Motility
  • Spermatozoa
  • Zona pellucida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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