Dense spermatozoa in stallion ejaculates contain lower concentrations of mRNAs encoding the sperm specific calcium channel 1, ornithine decarboxylase antizyme 3, aromatase, and estrogen receptor alpha than less dense spermatozoa. Academic Article uri icon


  • Stallions are unique among livestock in that, like men, they commonly receive medical treatment for subfertility. In both species, about 15% of individuals have normal semen parameters but are subfertile, indicating a need for novel analyses of spermatozoa function. One procedure for improving fertilizing capability of stallions and men is isolation of dense spermatozoa from an ejaculate for use in artificial insemination. In the current study, dense and less dense spermatozoa were purified by density gradient centrifugation from individual ejaculates from seven reproductively normal adult stallions. The RNA isolated from the spermatozoa seemed to be naturally fragmented to an average length of 250 bases, consistent with reports of spermatozoa RNA from other species. The DNAse treatment of RNA prepared from spermatozoa removed any genomic DNA contamination, as assessed by PCR with intron spanning primers for the protamine 1 (PRM1) gene. Concentrations of seven mRNAs in spermatozoa, correlated with the fertility of men and bulls, were quantified by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in dense and less dense spermatozoa. Concentrations of four mRNAs were two- to four-fold lower in dense spermatozoa compared with less dense spermatozoa: Encoding the spermatozoa-specific calcium channel (P < 0.03), ornithine decarboxylase antizyme 3 (P < 0.02), aromatase (P < 0.02), and estrogen receptor alpha (P < 0.08). In contrast, concentrations of three other mRNAs, encoding PRM1 and heat shock proteins HSPA8 and DNAJC4, were not different (P > 0.1). These results identify new differences in mRNA concentrations in populations of spermatozoa with dissimilar densities.

published proceedings

  • Theriogenology

author list (cited authors)

  • Ing, N. H., Forrest, D. W., Love, C. C., & Varner, D. D.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Ing, NH||Forrest, DW||Love, CC||Varner, DD

publication date

  • January 2014