Spontaneously developed tail swellings (SDTS) influence the accuracy of the hypo-osmotic swelling test (HOS-test) in determining membrane integrity and viability of human spermatozoa

  • Amjad HossainEmail author
  • Collin Osuamkpe
  • Shaikat Hossain
  • John Y. Phelps



To investigate the prevalence of spontaneously developed tail swellings (SDTS) in human sperm samples that are commonly encountered in the laboratory, and their influence on the hypo-osmotic swelling test (HOS-test).


Ejaculated, epididymal, and testicular sperm were evaluated for SDTS. Further, HOS-test scores were compared with those of vital stains using column washed sperm maintained in the laboratory.


SDTS, at <10%, was present in all types of sperm samples. The highest and lowest occurrences of SDTS were found in cryopreserved sperm, and column-washed sperm respectively. SDTS can inflate the HOS-test score, and so lower the accuracy of the HOS-test. However, the HOS-test efficiency can be improved by assessing SDTS in the sample.


HOS-test and vital stain cannot be used interchangeably in all circumstances for sperm viability determination. The accuracy of the HOS-test can be enhanced by incorporating SDTS as a correction factor.


HOS-Test Spontaneously developed tail swellings Vital stain 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amjad Hossain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Collin Osuamkpe
    • 1
  • Shaikat Hossain
    • 1
  • John Y. Phelps
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonGalvestonUSA

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