Detection of partial and complete acrosome reaction in human spermatozoa: Which inducers and probes to use?

B. S. Jaiswal, M. Eisenbach, I. Tur-Kaspa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The acrosome reaction (AR), an essential step for achieving mammalian fertilization, was recently introduced as a means of clinical evaluation of male fertility. However, most of the available techniques for acrosomal status assessment (except those employing electron microscopy) do not define whether the measurements represent partial or complete AR. We, therefore, performed a crossover investigation of the types of inducers and probes required for detecting partial or complete AR in human spermatozoa. The acrosomal status before and after stimulation with four AR inducers was evaluated after incubation for 3 h in capacitating conditions. We used a fluorescence-activated cell sorter with fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated monoclonal antibody CD46 (FITC-CD46) targeting the inner acrosomal membrane for detecting a complete AR, and fluorescein isothiocyanate-Pisum sativum agglutinin (FITC-PSA) targeting the acrosomal content for detection of both partial and complete AR. Without stimulation or following stimulation with progesterone, follicular fluid (FF) or phorbol myristate ester (PMA), the AR could be detected with FITC-PSA but not with FITC-CD46. Following stimulation with the calcium ionophore A23187, the AR could be detected by both FITC-PSA and FITC-CD46. These results suggest that spontaneous AR as well as AR induced by progesterone, PMA and FF are partial. In contrast, the AR induced by A23187 is total, i.e. both partial and complete. These findings are valuable for both research and clinical purposes and are a step towards an international agreement on a standard test for human sperm AR, for which there is an urgent need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • A23187
  • Acrosome reaction
  • CD46
  • Capacitation
  • Human spermatozoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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