Morphological and ultrastructural characterization of mammalian spermatozoa processed for flow cytometric DNA analyses
New York, NY
Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The morphological and ultrastructural changes that occur during preparation of porcine, bovine, and murine spermatozoa for flow cytometric quantification of the relative DNA content of the X- and Y-chromosome-bearing sperm populations were examined. Ejaculated spermatozoa from the boar and bull were washed using a series of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) solutions prior to fixation, whereas the epididymal mouse spermatozoa were washed only in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). Spermatozoa from all three species were then fixed in ethanol and processed for fluorochrome staining by a treatment regimen consisting of sulfhydryl reduction and proteolysis. The processed sperm nuclei were stained for DNA with the fluorochrome, 4′-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) before quantification by flow cytometry. Scanning and transmission electron micrographs of sperm heads taken at various steps of the preparation and staining procedures show 1) that the rigorous washing procedure disrupted the plasma and outer acrosomal membranes, 2) that ethanol fixation resulted in removal of the outer membranes and disintegration of the nuclear envelope, and 3) that thiol and proteolysis treatment removed the remaining cellular organelles including the tail and rapidly induced partial decondensation of the tightly packed chromatin. Sequential micrographs showed that the nuclear matrix of all three species increased in thickness about twofold during the preparation and staining. Consequently, the harsh procedures currently used for quantitative staining of DNA for high-resolution flow cytometric analyses destroy most cellular organelles and thereby prevent simultaneous characterization of DNA content and other sperm cell constituents.
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