Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : This study evaluates the use of two fluorescein-labelled (FITC) plant lectins, Pisum sativum (edible pea) agglutinin (PSA) and Arachis hypogaea (peanut) agglutinin (PNA), in order to determine the most accurate and reliable method to experimentally detect and assess the acrosome reaction in mouse spermatozoa. PNA-FITC labelling was restricted to the acrosome and was not influenced by the fixation procedure; either absolute methanol or paraformaldehyde. In contrast, PSA-FITC not only labelled the acrosome, but also the whole head and the flagellum. This aspect was especially marked after methanol fixation. The cytoplasmic droplet, when present, was also stained by PSA-FITC. Incubation with the calcium ionophore ionomycin induced a concentration and time-dependent increase in the number of acrosome reactions. Compared to spotted preparations, smear samples exhibited a high proportion of spermatozoa with damaged acrosome. In conclusion, PNA-FITC labelling was more accurate than PSA-FITC labelling to detect the acrosome of mouse spermatozoa. The fixation method (methanol vs. paraformaldehyde) had no influence on the staining pattern of PNA-FITC labelling, but spotted preparations are recommended to avoid mechanical damage to the acrosome. Ionophore challenge confirmed the existence of a calcium-dependent acrosome reaction in mouse spermatozoa and validated the use of PNA-FITC to quantify this physiological process. The present study illustrates important methodological considerations which need to be taken into account in order to design a reliable and reproducible protocol for the study of the acrosome reaction.