A new in vitro method was developed for analyzing the capacity of sperm to bind to oviductal epithelium to determine whether this binding capacity could be used to predict nonreturn rates (NRR). Sperm binding was evaluated by counting 5,5′,6,6′-tetrachloro-1,1′,3,3′-tetraethylbenzimidazolyl-carbocyanine iodide (JC-1)-labeled spermatozoa attached to oviductal epithelium and by measuring the surface area of the oviduct explants by means of an image analysis program. Hepes Tyrode albumin lactate pyruvate (TALP) was a more useful medium than in vitro fertilization (IVF)-TALP, TCM-199 medium 10% fetal calf serum, and TCM-199 medium alone for the investigation of sperm binding to oviductal explants. Oviduct explants with a surface area of ;lt20 000 μm2 provided more consistent results than did explants with a surface area of >100 000 μm2. A positive association was found between the loge transformed number of spermatozoa bound to 0.1 mm2 oviductal epithelium and the NRR of the respective sires after 24 h of coincubation, provided that the membrane integrity of the sperm sample was >60%. Determination of the capacity of sperm to bind to oviductal explants could become a reliable in vitro method for predicting the NRR of a given sire.
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