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18 January 2012 The Physiology of Bicarbonate Transporters in Mammalian Reproduction
Ying Liu, Deng-Ke Wang, Li-Ming Chen
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HCO3 plays critically important roles during virtually the entire process of reproduction in mammals, including spermatogenesis, sperm capacitation, fertilization, and development of early stage embryos. Therefore, the acid-base balance in the male and female reproductive tracts must be finely modulated. The fluid milieu in the epididymis is acidic, containing very low concentration of HCO3. In this acidic low HCO3 environment, mature sperm are rendered quiescent in the epididymis. In contrast, the luminal fluid in the female uterus and oviduct is alkaline, with very high concentration of HCO3 that is essential for sperm to fulfill fertilization. HCO3 transporter of solute carrier 4 (SLC4) and SLC26 families represent the major carriers for HCO3 transport across the plasma membrane. These transporters play critical roles in intracellular pH regulation and transepithelial HCO3 transport. The physiological roles of these transporters in mammalian reproduction are of fundamental interest to investigators. Here we review recent progress in understanding the expression of HCO3 transporters in reproductive tract tissues as well as the physiological roles of these transporters in mammalian reproduction.

© 2012 by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc.
Ying Liu, Deng-Ke Wang, and Li-Ming Chen "The Physiology of Bicarbonate Transporters in Mammalian Reproduction," Biology of Reproduction 86(4), (18 January 2012).
Received: 6 October 2011; Accepted: 1 December 2011; Published: 18 January 2012
acid-base transporter
male reproductive tract
pH regulation
sperm capacitation
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