Platelet-activating Factor in Iberian Pig Spermatozoa: Receptor Expression and Role as Enhancer of the Calcium-Induced Acrosome Reaction

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Platelet-activating factor (PAF) is a phospholipid involved in reproductive physiology. PAF receptor is expressed in some mammalian spermatozoa species where it plays a role in these germ-cell-specific processes. The aim of this study is to identify PAF receptor in Iberian pig spermatozoa and to evaluate PAF’s effects on motility, viability and acrosome reaction. Semen samples from Iberian boars were used. PAF receptor identification was performed by Western blotting. Spermatozoa motility was analysed by computer-assisted sperm analysis system, whereas spermatozoa viability and acrosome reaction were evaluated by flow cytometry. Different PAF concentrations added to non-capacitating medium during 60 min have no effect on any spermatozoa motility parameter measured. Acrosome reaction was rapid and potently induced by 1 μm calcium ionophore A23187 showing an effect at 60 min and maximum at 240 min. PAF added to a capacitating medium is not able to induce spermatozoa acrosome reaction at any time studied. However, PAF, in the presence of A23187, significantly accelerates and enhances the calcium-induced acrosome reaction in a concentration-dependent manner in Iberian boar spermatozoa. Exogenous PAF does not affect at all spermatozoa viability, whereas slightly exacerbated the A23187-induced loss in viability. This work demonstrates that PAF receptor is expressed in Iberian pig spermatozoa and that its stimulation by PAF regulates the calcium-induced acrosome reaction. This work contributes to further elucidate the physiological regulation of the most relevant spermatozoa functions for successful fertilization: acrosome reaction.

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