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The effect of α-amylase on the acrosomal membrane of human sperm

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Sperm capacitation and the acrosome reaction are prerequisites to accomplishing fertilization. The object of this research was to induce capacitation and the acrosome reaction of human sperm, comparing the acrosome status of fertile and infertile men, using α-amylase.


Acrosome status was measured using indirect immunofluorescence (IIF; monoclonal antibody GB24, Thèramex), hemizona assay (HZA), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).


Acrosome-reacted sperm without α-amylase treatment was significantly more abundant in the fertile versus the infertile group utilizing IIF, HZA, and TEM. α-Amylase-treated spermatozoa from the fertile and infertile groups showed a significant increase in the number of sperm bound to the hemizona (P <0.05).


The percentage of acrosome-reacted sperm in the infertile group was significantly enhanced by a-amylase, utilizing IIF and TEM.

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Correspondence to A. D. Esterhuizen.

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Esterhuizen, A.D., Lourens, J.G.H., Lindeque, H.W. et al. The effect of α-amylase on the acrosomal membrane of human sperm. J Assist Reprod Genet 12, 283–287 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02212933

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Key words

  • α-amylase
  • human sperm
  • hemizona assay
  • acrosome reaction