Sperm transport and survival in the mare

M. H.T. Troedsson, I. K.M. Liu, B. G. Crabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Following the deposition of semen in the mares uterus, spermatozoa must be transported to the site of fertilization, be maintained in the female tract until ovulation occurs, and be prepared to fertilize the released ovum. Sperm motility, myometrial contractions, and a spontaneous post-mating uterine inflammation are important factors for the transport and survival of spermatozoa in the mares reproductive tract. Fertilizable sperm are present in the oviduct within 4 hours after insemination. At this time, the uterus is the site of a hostile inflammatory environment. Our data suggest that spermatozoa trigger an influx of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) into the uterine lumen via activation of complement. Furthermore, seminal plasma appears to have a modulatory effect on the post-mating inflammation through its suppressive effect on PMN chemotaxis and migration. Spermatozoa that safely have reached the oviduct can be stored in a functional state for several days, but prolonged sperm storage in the female tract is not required for capacitation and fertilization in the horse. The caudal isthmus has been proposed as a sperm reservoir in the mare. The pattern of sperm transport and survival of spermatozoa in the mares reproductive tract are different between fertile and subfertile stallions, between fertile and some infertile mares, and between fresh and frozen-thawed semen. Possible explanations for these differences include a selective phagocytosis of damaged or dead spermatozoa, impaired myometrial activity in subfertile mares, bio-physiological changes of spermatozoa during cryopreservation, and the removal of seminal plasma during cryopreservation of equine semen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-915
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998


  • Sperm survival
  • Sperm transport
  • Stallion
  • Uterine contraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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