Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Enhancement of sperm survival by oviduct epithelial cells - LS3302

Although artificial insemination (AI) has been used for many years, its success is still limited under circumstances where sperm survival is crucial. Over the last three years, with MAFF support, we (Institute of Zoology and Royal Veterinary College) have been studying the mechanisms by which oviductal epithelial cells (OEC) maintain and prolong sperm viability. Our results indicate the presence of active factor(s) in the apical plasma membranes (APM) of OEC, capable of maintaining sperm viability in vitro. In addition, when sperm bind to OEC a number of oviductal genes are up- and down-regulated. The current application is aimed to (1) characterise the factors responsible for supporting sperm viability in the APM, (2) to characterise oviductal genes differentially regulated by sperm and (3) use this information in a practical sense for the development of long shelf life diluents, either alone or in combination with microencapsulation. We anticipate that this proposal will lead to the development of alternative and effective sperm storage techniques. This will result in more economical production of insemination doses for pig AI. If successful this would reduce the number of animals needed, while maintaining the same level of production. This would have significant economical implications for the livestock breeding industry, reducing maintenance costs and producing less waste products. The benefits of maintaining fewer animals without loss of productivity will in the long run benefit our society by reducing environmental pollution.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Enhancement of sperm survival by oviduct epithelial cells   (49k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2002

Cost: £157,680
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Zoology
Livestock Farming              
Fields of Study