The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 351–364 | Cite as

The properties of rabbit sperm membranes in contact with electrode surfaces

  • M. Blank
  • L. Soo
  • J. S. Britten
Article

Summary

In dilute suspensions of sperm cells there is electrode noise due to the changes in the electrical double layer during contacts of the suspended cells with the electrode surface. The noise frequency, the number of current fluctuations above one nanoampere per unit time, depends upon the concentration of cells, the potential at the electrode surface and the presence of adsorbed material at the electrode. We have studied the electrode noise due to suspensions of rabbit sperm cells, and have obtained information about the properties of the cell membranes and their ability to adsorb or interact with substances in the environment. The observed differences in the noise frequency between ejaculated and epididymal sperm cells indicate that the ejaculated sperm cell does not adsorb material as readily. The titration of sperm cell suspensions with Zn++ ions shows a lower negative surface charge on the epididymal sperm cell, in agreement with published values on cell electrophoresis. The experiments reported here demonstrate that there are significant changes in the membranes of sperm cells at the later stages of maturation which are independent of membrane charge and affect the ability of the cells to adsorb material. Such adsorption processes could be the first stages of physiological processes (e.g. “sperm capacitation”, “acrosome reaction”) that are known to occurin vivo, and that play important roles in fertilization.

Keywords

Electrode Surface Surface Charge Double Layer Physiological Process Adsorption Process 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bach, D., Britten, J. S., Blank, M. 1973. Polarographic studies of membrane particles containing Na−K ATPase.J. Membrane Biol. 11:227Google Scholar
  2. Bangham, A. D. 1961. Electrophoretic characteristics of ram and rabbit spermatozoa.Proc. Roy. Soc. B 155:292Google Scholar
  3. Bedford, J. M. 1963. Changes in the electrophoretic properties of rabbit spermatozoa during passage through the epididymis.Nature 200:1178PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bedford, J. M. 1970. Sperm capacitation and fertilization in mammals.Biol. Reprod. 2 (Suppl. 2):128PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bey, E. 1967. The electrophoretic mobility of sperm cells.In: Cell Electrophoresis. E. J. Ambrose, editor. p. 142. Little, Brown, Boston, Mass.Google Scholar
  6. Blank, M., Britten, J. S. 1970. Electron flow at the polarized mercury-water interface in the presence of membrane fragments rich in Na+−K+-activated ATPase.J. Membrane Biol. 2:1Google Scholar
  7. Blank, M., Soo, L., Britten, J. S. 1974. Electrode noise as a source of information on the contact of sperm cells with charged surfaces.Bioelectrochem. Bioenerget. 1 Google Scholar
  8. Booij, H. L., Bungenberg de Jong, H. G. 1956. Biocolloids and their Interactions. Springer-Verlag, Vienna, p. 20Google Scholar
  9. Nevo, A. C., Michaeli, I., Schindler, H. 1961. Electrophoretic properties of bull and of rabbit spermatozoa.Exp. Cell Res. 23:69PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Orgebin-Crist, M. C. 1969. Studies on the function of the epididymis.Biol. Reprod 1:155PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Vaidya, R. A., Glass, R. H., Dandekar, P., Johnson, K. 1971. Decrease in the electrophoretic mobility of rabbit spermatozoa following intrauterine incubation.J. Reprod. Fertil. 24:299PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Velazquez, A., Rosado, A. 1972. Cell polarography. I. Study of the surface characteristics of human spermatozoa.Fertil. Steril. 23:562PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Blank
    • 1
  • L. Soo
    • 1
  • J. S. Britten
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew York

Personalised recommendations