Human sperm function was compared in co-culture with monolayers of oviduct epithelial cells (OEC) from three species, human, macaque and bovine. For all species, freeze–thawed and passaged OEC from females in the periovulatory phase were used. OEC cultured on an extracellular matrix (Matrigel) formed a monolayer which supported human sperm attachment to OEC from all three species. Spermatozoa in co-culture with OEC from all three species showed prolonged survival and improved motility characteristics over those cultured in medium alone. This paper describes an efficient, repeatable co-culture system for human spermatozoa which supports sperm attachment to OEC and subsequently improves sperm function over that seen in control medium cultures. Because the improved sperm function in co-culture did not differ significantly between human and bovine OEC for those attributes studied, it is proposed that bovine OEC could be used as an alternative to human OEC in certain human sperm co-culture studies. Follicular phase bovine OEC from reproductively normal donors are far more accessible than their human counterparts, thus making this co-culture system more widely available for the study of human spermatozoa–female tract interactions.
Copyright (C) 1998, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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