R D Ruiz

National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Mendoza, Provincia de Mendoza, Argentina

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Publications (30)37.8 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Chinchilla spp. is a South American hystricomorph rodent genus currently considered almost extinct in the wild. The high quality of chinchilla fur motivated the harvesting of chinchillas for the fur market. Reproductive biology advances come from studies on commercially exploited animals, especially Chinchilla lanigera. We studied seasonal variation of urinary androgen metabolites, sperm concentration and sperm functional activity in males of domestic Chinchilla lanigera under natural photoperiod. In Córdoba city (31° S–64° W; Argentina), within the same latitudes as those of the historic Andean distribution (tropical deserts; 15°-34°S), domestic males (n = 7) were studied in May (autumn), August (winter), November (spring), and February (summer). Urine was seasonally collected (over 24 h; once for season, 4 in total) to measure urinary androgen metabolites (RIA), before semen collection by electroejaculation. The results indicated that although testicular volume (relative to body weight) and values of sperm functional activity did not show seasonal changes, a seasonal variation in androgen excretion was detected, with the highest values occurring during “short” light/dark cycles (autumn-winter). In addition, viable spermatozoa with intact acrosome mean values during winter-spring were higher than in autumn or summer. This study provides information that might contribute to the assessment of testicular activity in male chinchilla subjected to genetic selection in the fur industry. In addition, since domestic chinchilla still share some genomic characteristics with their counterparts in the wild, results presented may also contributed to ex situ breeding program of endangered chinchilla. In conclusion, natural photoperiod cycle affects testicular activity in domestic chinchilla.
    Animal reproduction science 01/2014; · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A review of the biology of reproduction of chinchilla, focusing on environmental control of the gonadal activity, is presented. Chinchilla is a South American hystricomorph rodent genus currently considered almost extinct in the wild. However, a domestic form is still widespread in breeding farms around the world. Information regarding their reproductive biology has been obtained from studies on captive animals. In the case of Chinchilla lanigera, a seasonal reproductive pattern has been frequently reported in breeding facilities, but factors that might trigger gonadal activity have not been identified. The available information on reproductive productivity in farms worldwide shows a range of 1.2 to 2.4 deliveries per female per yr (with up to 2.1 weaned young per female per yr). Indeed, as found in all rodents, chinchillas can multiply at high fecundity and fertility rates (4 to 6 follicles mature during estrous cycles). Some new research avenues are postulated to improve the control of gonadal activity by means of environmental and/or pharmacologic factors. Furthermore, reproductive techniques that have been validated in chinchilla are reviewed (noninvasive hormone monitoring, semen collection, sperm cryopreservation, estrus induction), and several technical steps are proposed to be able to achieve AI. Because domesticated chinchilla still share some genomic characteristics with their counterparts in the wild, validated reproductive techniques in chinchilla males and females might contribute to the success of breeding programs.
    Theriogenology 04/2012; 78(1):1-11. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hexarelin (HEXr), a synthetic ghrelin analogue, has been associated with modifications of reproductive physiology. In previous studies of adult mice, we detected that HEXr induced significantly reduced ovulation rate and significant correlation coefficients between sexual maturation and corporal weight in offspring. In this study, we investigated the effects of chronic HEXr administration on sperm concentration and functional activity, oestrous cyclicity and pregnancy index, in addition to the number of fetuses and its correlation with the number of corpora lutea. Adult Albino swiss mice were injected (sc) daily with HEXr: 100 μgkg(-1) day(-1) (HEXr D1) or 200 μgkg(-1) day(-1) (HEXr D2) for 53 days in males and 30 days in females. We detected a significantly decreased ratio in the number of fetuses per corpora lutea in females treated with HEXr D2 for 30 days before mating and during the first 6 days of pregnancy, in addition to a downward trend in the pregnancy index and percentage of females impregnated by each male treated with both doses of the analogue. Although we did not find any significant effect on additional parameters evaluated in both genders, we propose certain effects of HEXr on the implantation process and/or early development of embryos and over the in vivo reproductive capability of males.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 03/2012; 24(3):451-60. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity and male infertility have increased in the last decades; therefore, a possible association between these pathologies has been explored. Studies inform that obesity may affect fertility througth different mechanisms, which alltogether could exert erectile dysfunction and/or sperm quality impairment. These include: 1) hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular (HPG) axis malfunction: obese hormonal profile is characterized by reduction of testosterone, gonadotrophins, SHBG and/or inhibin B concentrations (marker of Sertoli cells function) and hyperestrogenemy (consequence of aromatase overactivity ascribed to adipose tissue increase); 2) increased release of adipose-derived hormones: leptin increase could be responsible for some of the alterations on the HPG axis and could also exert direct deleterious effects on Leydig cells physiology, spermatogenesis and sperm function; 3) proinflammatory adipokines augmentation, higher scrotal temperature (due to fat accumulation in areas surrounding testes) and endocrine disruptors accumulation in adiposites, all of these responsible for the increase in testes oxidative stress and 4) sleep apnea, frequent in obese patients, suppresses the nocturnal testosterone rise needed for normal spermatogenesis. Finally, although controversial, all the above mentioned factors could comprise gametes quality; i.e. decrease sperm density and motility and increase DNA fragmentation, probably disturbing spermatogenesis and/or epididymal function. In summary, although obesity may impair male fertility by some/all of the described mechanisms, the fact is that only a small proportion of obese men are infertile, probably those genetically predisposed or morbidly obese. Nevertheless, it is likely that because the incidence of obesity is growing, the number of men with reduced fertility will increase as well.
    Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Médicas (Córdoba, Argentina) 01/2012; 69(2):102-10.
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    ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study of seminal quality of chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) males were to evaluate (1) the use of neutral alpha-glucosidase (NAG) as a functional epididymal marker in this species, and (2) the effects of repetitive electroejaculation on sperm function and seminal NAG concentration. Semen was obtained by electroejaculation from sexually mature domestic Ch. lanigera males (n=6) once a week for six consecutive weeks, and evaluated to assess seminal volume and NAG activity, and sperm concentration and functional activity (motility, viability, membrane and acrosome integrity). Body weight was determined in all animals before each electroejaculation procedure. NAG activity was detected in all semen samples obtained, reaching a concentration of 55.4±6.8μU/mL. No significant variations were observed throughout the experimental period in any of the semen quality parameters evaluated. A reduction (P=0.001) in body weight was detected from the third week of experimentation and by the end of the experiments the animals lost a 7.2±0.9% of body weight. Overall, results in the present study confirm that NAG activity is detectable in chinchilla seminal plasma and that repetitive electroejaculation is not deleterious, on a short-term basis, to the semen characteristics.
    Animal reproduction science 07/2011; 126(3-4):229-33. · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin (Ghr) is a gut/hypothalamus peptide with inhibitory actions on reproductive physiology; however, there are no previous reports of its role on estrous behavior. Under the hypothesis that the increase of plasma Ghr during food restriction (FR) is responsible for receptivity reduction, we intended to evaluate the receptivity percentage of female mice subjected to: exp. 1) acute and chronic FR and Ghr administration (3 nmol/animal/day, s. c.) and exp. 2) the co-administration of a ghrelin antagonist [ant=(d-Lys3)-GHRP-6; 6 nmol/animal/day s. c.]. All females were ovariectomized, primed with steroids, trained, and randomly subjected every week to each one of several protocols, followed by a behavioral test. Experiment 1 (n=8): basal, no treatment; acute FR (aFR), 24-h fasting; chronic FR (cFR), 50% FR for 5 days; acute ghrelin (aGhr), Ghr 30 min before test and chronic ghrelin (cGhr), Ghr for 5 days. Except for cGhr, all treatments significantly decreased the percentage of receptivity (mean±SEM): basal 61.9±6.0, aFR 33.1±8.1, cFR 18.8±7.7, aGhr 45.6±10.6, p<0.05 vs. basal. In exp. 2 (n=11), except for cFR+ant (55.0±6.4) the co-administration of the antagonist reversed the deleterious effects detected in exp. 1: basal 70.9±5.4; aFR+ant 72.3±7.6; aGhr+ant 73.6±4.7. As expected, the administration of vehicle or antagonist alone did not modify receptivity. Besides, we found a significant correlation between percentage of body weight loss and percentage of receptivity reduction (r=0.62, p=0.0004). This is the first study demonstrating that ghrelin is able to inhibit female mice sexual behavior and that is involved, at least in part, in receptivity reduction after food scarcity.
    Hormone and Metabolic Research 06/2011; 43(7):494-9. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin (Ghr) has been associated with reproductive physiology and pre- and postnatal development. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the effects of hexarelin (HEX; 100 or 200 microg kg(-1) day(-1)), a therapeutic Ghr analogue, on: (1) embryo development 60 h post ovulation, induced pharmacologically, in pregnant mice; (2) the physical, neurobiological and sexual development of offspring of female mice injected with HEX during the first, second or third week of pregnancy or throughout the entire pregnancy; and (3) adult memory acquisition in these offspring. We also evaluated the effects of chronic HEX administration on memory acquisition in adult mice. Treatment of non-pregnant female mice with HEX decreased ovulation rate. However, treatment of pregnant mice with HEX at any time during pregnancy tended to accelerate offspring maturation, regardless of bodyweight. This effect was only significant on neurobiological parameters following treatment during the first week. HEX treatment during the first week and/or throughout the entire pregnancy resulted in impaired memory acquisition in the offspring, with female mice being more susceptible to these effects. Similar results were observed for the effects of chronic HEX treatment on memory acquisition in adult mice. In conclusion, HEX seems to exert differential effects depending on when it is administered. Because HEX has started to be used therapeutically, its deleterious effects on ovulation and memory acquisition must be further evaluated.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 01/2010; 22(6):926-38. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been demonstrated, in normal and aged rats and mice, that acute i.c.v. ghrelin (Ghr) administration increases memory retention. In order to evaluate if this treatment, restores memory retention in animals exhibiting impaired memory, in the present work we selected a chronic food restriction mouse model (since undernutrition prejudices higher nervous functions). We employed adult female mice with 28 days of 50% food restriction and evaluated: a) behavioral performance using novel object recognition test for memory, and plus maze for anxiety-like behavior, b) some morphometric parameters as body and hepatic weights and c) plasma Ghr levels. The animals with 50% food restriction showed an increase in plasma Ghr levels and a decrease in morphometric parameters and in the percentage of novel object recognition time. When the peptide was i.c.v. injected in food-restricted animals (0.03, 0.3 or 3.0 nmol/microl), memory increases in relation to food-restricted mice injected with vehicle, reaching a performance similar to controls.
    Neuroscience 07/2008; 153(4):929-34. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cryopreservation of spermatozoa constitutes a valuable tool for the captive breeding management of valuable and/or threatened species. Chinchilla lanigera is a species almost extinct in the wild, and the domestic counterpart has one of the most valuable pelts in the world. The objectives of this study were to: (i) compare the functional activity of post-thawed chinchilla spermatozoa cryopreserved at -196 degrees C either with glycerol (G) or ethylene glycol (EG) as cryoprotectants (1 m final concentration) and (ii) investigate the effects of incubating the gametes for 4 h in the presence or in the absence of the cryoprotectants; evaluations were performed taking into account motility, viability, response to hypo-osmotic shock and acrosome integrity of the cells. Parameters reflecting post-thaw (0 h) sperm functional activity were significantly lower than those of freshly ejaculated gametes. When comparing the cryoprotectant efficiency of G vs EG, neither cryoprotectant agent offered appreciable advantages. After 4 h of incubation, in the presence or absence of the cryoprotectant agent, a rapid and significant decrease was found in all functional parameters and remained at approximately 20-30% motile, viable and viable acrosome intact cells. Viability was significantly lower when the cryoprotectant was removed from the media (possibly due to the centrifugation process). With respect to the maintenance of sperm membrane integrity, only approximately 10% of cells showed membrane resistance to hypo-osmotic conditions after the 4 h incubation period. These results constitute new insights for cryopreservation protocols and the development of assisted reproductive techniques in this species.
    Reproduction in Domestic Animals 05/2008; 43(2):228-33. · 1.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chinchilla lanigera intensive breeding programmes are affected by an abnormal repetitive behaviour called 'fur-chewing', yet the aetiology is still unknown and little scientific work has been published on this condition. Recent studies have supported the idea that fur-chewing is a stress-related behaviour. In the present study, we used a questionnaire survey in order to: 1) describe general aspects on the epidemiology of fur-chewing in Argentinian farms, and 2) identify which management and/or environmental factors within the breeding facilities may be influencing the occurrence of fur-chewing. The survey consisted of 28 questions focused on farm characteristics, environmental variables and husbandry routines, and was distributed to Argentinian chinchilla farmers. All quantitative variables were tested in a multiple logistic regression model. The mean incidence of fur-chewing was 4.32 ± 0.37% (n = 107 farms). Variables negatively related to fur-chewing were the breeder experience in the activity, the total volume of the facility, and the number of wood shaving changes per week. Positive relationships were found for space index, number of rooms in the facility and presence of different rooms for fur production and reproduction. Other tendencies suggested that farms with the presence of external sound disturbance nearby had higher incidence levels. Also, we detected a tendency towards lower numbers of affected animals with an increment in the provision of dusting baths per week. Finally, results suggested a female prevalence in the development of the behaviour.
    Animal welfare (South Mimms, England) 10/2007; 16(4):471-479. · 1.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Repetitive electroejaculation is probably extremely stressful in conscious animals and could adversely affect fertility. The present study was designed to (a) evaluate the effects of anesthesia (40 mg ketamine/kg body weight, i.m.) on a method of electroejaculation used previously in conscious chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera), and (b) determine the quality of the electroejaculated semen obtained under anesthesia. In Experiment 1 (8 animals), a 4 x 4 Latin square design was used to study the effects of anesthesia and ejaculatory voltage on semen collection, ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, motility, viability, response to the hypoosmotic swelling test (HOST), and acrosomal status. In Experiment 2 (12 animals), the effects of differing voltages and the number of stimuli on ejaculation by conscious or anesthetized males was determined. In both experiments, all the conscious animals ejaculated, but only 60% ejaculated under anesthesia and they required more stimuli and higher voltages to achieve ejaculation. Ejaculate volume was significantly lower in anesthetized (<5 microl) than in conscious animals (>40 microl), but sperm concentration was unaffected. None of the indices of sperm quality were affected by anesthesia. The techniques we have developed in anesthetized domestic chinchillas should be applicable to endangered chinchillas in the wild, and though the number of sperm available is reduced, there are still sufficient for assisted reproduction.
    Research in Veterinary Science 03/2005; 78(1):93-7. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, the authors examined the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use on plasma testosterone and seminal parameters (in accordance with the World Health Organization's standards) in healthy Argentine medical students (n = 34). Some alterations in seminal parameters were detected in 19 (56%) subjects. Alcohol and tobacco use were correlated significantly, p = 0.005; subjects who used these substances exhibited a nonsignificant reduction in sperm concentration, motility, viability, and normal morphology. There was a significant decrease in sperm motility among students who used moderate amounts of aspirin (i.e., > or = 500 mg/wk). The authors concluded that alcohol, tobacco, and aspirin use could have had detrimental effects on seminal parameters and that men who wish to procreate should be warned of such effects. Doses, exposure time, and interactions with other variables deserve additional study.
    Archives of Environmental Health An International Journal 11/2004; 59(11):548-52.
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    ABSTRACT: It is accepted that cryopreservation exerts deleterious effects on functional characteristics of mammalian spermatozoa. Conventional procedures for processing frozen-thawed gametes, such as centrifugation, produce additional damage. In the present work, we investigated the efficacy of processing bovine cryopreserved semen by filtration in a Sephadex column (SF group) or by washing by centrifugation (100 g, 10 min, twice) (W group); the results obtained from both procedures were compared to untreated samples (C group). The effects of in vitro addition of progesterone (10 μM, 20 min) upon sperm functional activity were studied also. The evaluated sperm parameters were concentration, motility (progressive or non progressive cells), viability and acrosome reaction. They were measured at time 0 (immediately after processing) or after 4 h incubation in capacitating conditions. Sperm concentration was (× 10−6): 37.5 ± 5.4 in C, 8.3 ± 2.1 in W and 12.5 ± 2.9 in SF. The percentages of motile, progressive, viable or acrosome intact gametes were significantly higher in SF than in W or in C. in SF group, after 4 h incubation in capacitating conditions, progesterone increased significantly the population of acrosome reacted cells whereas this parameter was not modified when the cells were incubated in absence of heparin. Motility and viability were not modified by the hormone. We conclude that Sephadex filtration method is an adequate tool to obtain a subpopulation of spermatozoa with superior quality, as assessed by motility, viability and acrosomal integrity; besides, our results strongly support that, as in other species, progesterone would be a physiological inductor of acrosome reaction in bovine.
    Journal of Experimental Animal Science - J EXP ANIM SCI. 01/2002; 42(2):93-101.
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    ABSTRACT: Although the in vitro fertilisation index is a parameter commonly employed to investigate sperm functional activity, little attention has been given to the occurrence of parthenogenesis. The purpose of this study was to study at 6 h or 22 h incubation: (a) the cleavage-related events that occur in in vitro incubated mouse oocytes, in the absence (parthenogenesis) or presence of homologous spermatozoa; (b) the effect of mineral oil, commonly used in in vitro fertilisation assays; (c) the effect of piroxicam, a prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor, on the parthenogenetic rate; and (d) the influence on parthenogenesis of spontaneous loss of the cumulus oophorus coat during incubation. Under the experimental conditions employed, there was parthenogenetic activation and activation due to fertilisation. Both increased in a time-dependent manner. The mineral oil enhanced the parthenogenetic rate at 22 h incubation. However, it did not have any effect when the oocytes were inseminated. Since we can not discriminate how much of this activation was due to fertilisation and how much to parthenogenesis we must be very careful with this comparison. Piroxicam 10(-8) M did not show any effect on the mouse oocyte parthenogenetic rate at neither 6 h or 22 h incubation. Our results suggest that oocyte susceptibility to spontaneous parthenogenetic activation may be modified by the presence of the cumulus and corona radiata cells. In conclusion, we consider that further rigorous studies on these influences are necessary in order to confer more reliability on the results.
    Zygote 03/2000; 8(1):45-9. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Because reproductive studies and the application of assisted reproductive techniques are relevant issues for an endangered species such as Chinchila laniger, the availability of a source of viable spermatozoa becomes of utmost importance. In this paper, we evaluate several functional parameters (motility, viability, response to hypoosmotic swelling test and acrosomal integrity) of fresh or frozen-thawed spermatozoa. Electro-ejaculation trials (50-cyc/sec sinusoidal wave was applied for 5 of every 10 sec) were successful in all unanesthetized animals. After volume (108.3 +/- 12.0 microL, n = 15) and concentration (421.8 +/- 34.4 x 10(6) cells/mL, n = 15) measurements, the above mentioned parameters were determined. In frozen-thawed semen samples sperm motility, viability, hypoosmotic swelling test and acrosomal integrity were significantly lower than in fresh semen samples. The results clearly indicated that electro-ejaculation is a useful method for evaluating spermatozoa for genetic analysis or for used in Al in this species. In addition, the cryopreservation procedure in this study preserved adequate levels of functional sperm activity.
    Theriogenology 01/1999; 50(8):1239-49. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chinchilla laniger is an endangered species and improved cryopreservation of spermatozoa would constitute a significant advance in the development of assisted reproductive techniques in this species. The functional activity of epididymal spermatozoa from adult males was studied immediately after extrusion and after 24 hours incubation, and the ability of five extenders to protect these gametes during cryopreservation was determined. A decrease in sperm motility, viability, acrosome intact cells and response to hypo-osmotic swelling test was detected 24 hours later. The extenders here assayed showed well-defined differences in their cryoprotective ability; however such differences could not be attributed to any one of their individual components. The presence of TES plus Tris, the proportion of the individual constituents and/or the differences in metabolic substrate content could explain the above-mentioned finding. The results indicate that cryo-buffer II (TES-Tris-egg yolk-fructose-glycerol) is the most powerful protector of sperm functional activity in this species.
    Research in Veterinary Science 01/1998; 64(3):239-43. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies indicate that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in defective sperm function pathophysiology. In this study we attempted to determine differentially the effects of xanthine (0.12 mM) plus xanthine oxidase (0.035 U/mL) (X+XO, a ROS promoter system), ROS scavengers (Tiron (TIR, 15 mM); catalase (CAT, 10 micrograms/mL); dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO, 140 mM)), and X+XO plus scavengers on several epididymal mouse spermatozoa functional parameters, incubated in NTPC medium, for 29 min. In the presence of X+XO, progressive gametes significantly diminished. TIR or CAT attenuated this effect, but DMSO did not. Inversely, X+XO increased the bending-forms population; only TIR reversed this phenomenon. The ROS promoter system diminished the viable cell population; all scavengers assayed maintained sperm viability at levels similar to control ones. When exposed to hypoosmotic shock after 29 min incubation with X+XO, the percentage of swollen cells decreased; TIR, CAT, or DMSO did not prevent this effect. Our experiments demonstrate that it is possible to differentiate the deleterious ROS effects upon sperm functional activity. O-2. and H2O2 preferentially seem to modify sperm motility, O-2. exhibiting the greatest ability for generating bending-form gametes, OH-being the most lethal ROS. In addition, sperm membrane clearly appears as the most damaged structure.
    Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 04/1997; 75(3):173-8. · 1.56 Impact Factor
  • Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology - CAN J PHYSIOL PHARMACOL. 01/1997; 75(3):173-178.
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    ABSTRACT: Corticosterone levels and epididymal sperm functional activity have been studied in rats subjected to immobilization stress (A: 12 days) or variable chronic stress (B: 24 days; C: 32 days and D: 32 days plus 28 days without stress). Plasma corticosterone levels were significantly enhanced in B and C groups. Body and testicular weight significantly decreased in C and D groups. A decrease in viability or percentage of progressive epididymal spermatozoa was detected in C and D groups. Responses of spermatozoa to hypoosmotic shock remained unaltered in all groups. Results suggest that sustained increase in activity of the hypothalamo-adenohypophyseal-adrenal cortical system alters the activity of the hypothalamo-adenohypophyseal-testicular axis.
    Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry 02/1996; 104(3):351-6.
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    ABSTRACT: The kinetics of functional modifications during in vivo or in vitro incubation was studied in spermatozoa from Albino Swiss mice, obtained from cauda epididymis (E) or from uterus (U) or oviduct (O) post copulation (p.c.). Results clearly suggest that functional activity as reflected by measurements of motility, hypoosmotic swelling test and acrosome reaction differs according to the segments of the reproductive tract from which they were collected. The comparison of results obtained after equivalent periods of in vitro or in vivo incubation, shows that the time course of changes in sperm motility and percentage of swollen sperm is similar in both conditions. Since the percentage of acrosome-reacted gametes was higher in O, at all times scored, oviductal environment appeared to be capable of inducing this phenomenon. Our experimental conditions seemed to be adequate for completion of spermatozoa maturation and successful interaction between male and female gametes as reflected by the results of fertilization rate and embryo cleavage.
    Journal of Experimental Animal Science 12/1994; 36(6):189-200.