The objectives of this project are to understand the normal biology of human spermatozoa in the female reproductive tract and to be able to recognize alterations in semen quality and sperm function which indicate infertility. We have approached these objectives by study of individual sperm from carefully selected fertile and infertile men. We have developed new methodologies for assessment of human male fertility and we now have some insight into the pathophysiology of the human sperm cells. In the continuation of this project we will study in detail the biology of human sperm-zona pellucida interaction following sperm capacitation in vitro and in vivo (sperm recovered from the cervical canal). Zona binding inhibition studies with various saccharides will be carried out to study the nature of the sperm-zona bond. Lectin binding studies will be used to examine sperm surface changes which may be associated with zona binding. The ultrastructure of sperm-zona nellucida interaction will be studied as will the flagellar movement of spermatozoa on the zona surface. Parallel studies will be carried out with zona-free hamster oocytes to better understand the biology of human sperm interaction with the oolemma. The knowledge and methodology developed in these studies of normal biology will be applied in studies of infertile men to better understand the abnormalities of sperm cells which may lead to fertilization dysfunction. The efficacy of our previously developed diagnostic methodologies for objective assessment of human sperm motility and morphology will be evaluated in retrospective studies of infertility cases in which they have been applied. The statistical method of survival analysis will be applied to these data to calculate the probability of male fertility potential from the parameters of semen quality. A new diagnostic method for morphometric evaluation of human spermatozoa will be developed and applied to the assessment of human male infertility. The contribution of sub-fertile males to peri-implantation spontaneous abortion will be assessed by study of hCG and steroid conjugates in daily morning urine samples from their wives. The equipment, personnel and clinical resources have been assembled for a comprehensive, scientifically-sound study of the physiology and pathology of human spermatozoa. The continuation of this project will represent a long-term commitment to this goal.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Reproductive Biology Study Section (REB)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Davis
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Sarason, R L; VandeVoort, C A; Mader, D R et al. (1991) The use of nonmetal electrodes in electroejaculation of restrained but unanesthetized macaques. J Med Primatol 20:122-5
Naftulin, B N; Samuels, S J; Hellstrom, W J et al. (1991) Semen quality in varicocele patients is characterized by tapered sperm cells. Fertil Steril 56:149-51
Katz, D F; Morales, P; Samuels, S J et al. (1990) Mechanisms of filtration of morphologically abnormal human sperm by cervical mucus. Fertil Steril 54:513-6
Tollner, T L; VandeVoort, C A; Overstreet, J W et al. (1990) Cryopreservation of spermatozoa from cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). J Reprod Fertil 90:347-52
Tarantal, A F; VandeVoort, C A; Overstreet, J W (1990) Intrauterine insemination with ultrasound guidance in the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis). J Med Primatol 19:447-53
Zinaman, M; Drobnis, E Z; Morales, P et al. (1989) The physiology of sperm recovered from the human cervix: acrosomal status and response to inducers of the acrosome reaction. Biol Reprod 41:790-7
Morales, P; Cross, N L (1989) A new procedure for determining acrosomal status of very small numbers of human sperm. J Histochem Cytochem 37:1291-2
Hellstrom, W J; Samuels, S J; Waits, A B et al. (1989) A comparison of the usefulness of SpermMar and immunobead tests for the detection of antisperm antibodies. Fertil Steril 52:1027-31
VandeVoort, C A; Tollner, T L; Tarantal, A F et al. (1989) Ultrasound-guided transfundal uterine sperm recovery from Macaca fascicularis. Gamete Res 24:327-31
Morales, P; Cross, N L; Overstreet, J W et al. (1989) Acrosome intact and acrosome-reacted human sperm can initiate binding to the zona pellucida. Dev Biol 133:385-92

Showing the most recent 10 out of 28 publications