Sperm migration through the female genital tract of the new world monkey Cebus apella

M. E. Ortiz, G. Gajardo, C. G. Leon, E. Herrera, E. Valdez, H. B. Croxatto

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15 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to characterize sperm migration in the female genital tract of Cebus apella. Forty eight cycles of eighteen females mated during the periovulatory period were studied. Eggs were searched for and spermatozoa were counted in segmental flushing of the genital tract performed in situ 1-7 h, 19-31 h, or 45-56 h after coitus. Of 14 eggs recovered, 8 were fertilized, thus assuring a reasonable normality of prefertilization phenomena in both males and females. A downward gradient of several orders of magnitude in sperm numbers was recognized from cervix to ampulla, particularly over the first interval. The population in the cervix and uterus decreased progressively between the first and last interval Spermatozoa were recovered from the ampulla as early as 1 h after mating. Different trends were observed in the isthmus and ampulla. From the first to the last interval, sperm numbers decreased in the ampulla, but not in the isthmus. The number of spermatozoa recovered from the ampulla of the ovulatory side 1-31 h postcoitum was higher in postovulatory than in preovulatory monkeys, while in the nonovulatory side, recovery was similar in the two conditions. This finding suggests that the passage of spermatozoa up to the site of fertilization is under local control and is synchronized with ovulation. The pattern of sperm migration that emerges from these data bears similarities to the pattern in nonprimate species as well as distinctive features A unique feature in common with the pattern in humans is the early establishment of a fairly abundant and persistent sperm population in the ampulla.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1128
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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