Submitted to: Journal of Experimental Zoology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/13/2001
Publication Date: 1/15/2002
Citation: Bakst, M.R., Vinyard, B.T. Oviducal sperm storage in turkeys: spatial distribution of sperm within the uterovaginal junction sperm-storage tubules. Journal of Experimental Zoology. 292:205-209, 2002.
Interpretive Summary: Sperm are stored in small tubules (sperm storage tubules, SST) located at the upper end of the vagina, the uterovaginal junction (UVJ). These sperm are released slowly over time and advance to the upper end of the oviduct allowing for a succession of daily ovulated ova to be fertilized. In this manner the hen does not need to copulate or be artificially inseminated daily in order to produce fertile eggs over one or two weeks. In this study, we looked at how the sperm fill the SST. Sperm were stained with a nuclear fluorescent dye, inseminated, and the UVJ region containing the SST were isolated. We found that sperm were uniformly distributed in the more centrally located and longest SST and less frequently observed in the shorter more peripherally located SST. We concluded that the more morphologically developed SST either accept sperm more readily or store sperm more efficiently than shorter SST. This information is important to other scientist conducting research on the biological mechanisms of oviductal sperm selection and storage.
Technical Abstract: The spatial distribution of sperm within the sperm-storage tubules (SST) found in the uterovaginal junction (UVJ) of the turkey is not known. In this study, we inseminated sperm stained with a fluorescent dye (Hoechst 33342) to determine their distribution in SST in the ventral, dorsal, and lateral regions of the proximal, middle and distal regions of the UVJ. There was no preferential filling in the ventral - dorsal axis of the UVJ. In contrast, preferential filling of the SST was observed in the middle section of the UVJ. Here the individual SST were clearly longer and more pleomorphic than the SST in the more proximal and distal aspects of the UVJ. While no information on the temporal aspect of SST filling by sperm could be gleaned, it is evident that the more morphologically developed SST either accept sperm more readily or store sperm more efficiently than SST elsewhere in the UVJ.