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Oviductal epithelial cell (OEC) co-culture prolongs sperm viability and motility in vitro in a number of species including humans and horses. This study has sought to determine the effects of homologous OEC co-culture on boar sperm function. To determine whether the effects on spermatozoa were specifically caused by co-culture with or by OEC secretions, or by both factors together, a number of co-culture and cell-conditioned medium (CM) experiments were conducted. Firstly, Percoll-washed spermatozoa were co-cultured with OECs and pig kidney epithelial (LLC-PK1) cells, and in medium without cells. Secondly, Percoll-washed spermatozoa were incubated with CM derived from both OECs and LLC-PK1 cells and in unconditioned medium. A number of sperm function parameters were assessed after 5, 30, 60, 90, 120, and 180 min, and 24h of co-culturing or incubation with CM. Of all the sperm function parameters investigated, the percentage (%) viability data yielded the most interesting results. OECs (mean+/-S.E.M.; 31.2+/-1.10) were better than LLC-PK1 cells (24.3+/-0.93) at prolonging the viability of unbound spermatozoa after 24h of co-culturing (P<0.05). Also after 24h, the viability of spermatozoa bound to the OECs (77.6+/-1.83) was significantly higher than in the case of the LLC-PK1 cells (53.5+/-1.43; P<0.001). Other sperm function parameters, e.g., capacitation and motility, were also influenced by OEC co-culturing and incubation with CM, although to a lesser degree. In conclusion, porcine homologous OEC co-culture and CM incubation specifically affect sperm function. However, we propose that it is OEC co-culturing, rather than OEC-CM, that has the greater influence.

Original publication




Journal article


Anim Reprod Sci

Publication Date





263 - 278


Acrosome, Animals, Cell Communication, Cell Survival, Cells, Cultured, Coculture Techniques, Epithelial Cells, Fallopian Tubes, Female, Male, Mitochondria, Sperm Capacitation, Sperm Motility, Spermatozoa, Sus scrofa