Aquaporins 7 and 11 in boar spermatozoa: detection, localisation and relationship with sperm quality
Prieto-Martínez N., Vilagran I., Morató R., Rodríguez-Gil JE., Yeste M., Bonet S.
Aquaporins (AQPs) are integral membrane water channels that allow transport of water and small solutes across cell membranes. Although water permeability is known to play a critical role in mammalian cells, including spermatozoa, little is known about their localisation in boar spermatozoa. Two aquaporins, AQP7 and AQP11, in boar spermatozoa were identified by western blotting and localised through immunocytochemistry analyses. Western blot results showed that boar spermatozoa expressed AQP7 (25 kDa) and AQP11 (50 kDa). Immunocytochemistry analyses demonstrated that AQP7 was localised in the connecting piece of boar spermatozoa, while AQP11 was found in the head and mid-piece and diffuse labelling was also seen along the tail. Despite differences in AQP7 and AQP11 content between boar ejaculates, these differences were not found to be correlated with sperm quality in the case of AQP7. Conversely, AQP11 content showed a significant correlation (P < 0.05) with sperm membrane integrity and fluidity and sperm motility. In conclusion, boar spermatozoa express AQP7 and AQP11, and the amounts of AQP11 but not those of AQP7 are correlated with sperm motility and membrane integrity.