In vitro capacitation of dog spermatozoa in a medium without sugars and with lactate as the metabolic substrate (l-CCM) was accompanied by a progressive increase of intracellular glycogen during the first 2 h of incubation, which was followed by a subsequent decrease of glycogen levels after up to 4 h of incubation. Lactate from the medium is the source for the observed glycogen synthesis, as the presence of [14C]glycogen after the addition to l-CCM with [14C]lactate was demonstrated. The existence of functional gluconeogenesis in dog sperm was also sustained by the presence of key enzymes of this metabolic pathway, such as fructose 1,6-bisphophatase and aldolase B. On the other hand, glycogen metabolism from gluconeogenic sources was important in the maintenance of a correct in vitro fertilization after incubation in the l-CCM. This was demonstrated after the addition of phenylacetic acid (PAA) to l-CCM. In the presence of PAA, in vitro capacitation of dog spermatozoa suffered alterations, which translated into changes in capacitation functional markers, like the increase in the percentage of altered acrosomes, a distinct motion pattern, decrease or even disappearance of capacitation-induced tyrosine phosphorylation, and increased heterogeneity of the chlorotetracycline pattern in capacitated cells. Thus, this is the first report indicating the existence of a functional glyconeogenesis in mammalian spermatozoa. Moreover, gluconeogenesis-linked glycogen metabolism seems to be of importance in the maintenance of a correct in vitro capacitation in dog sperm in the absence of hexoses in the medium.
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