The spermatozoa acrosome reaction (AR) is essential for mammalian fertilization. Few methods allow visualization of AR in real time together with Ca2 imaging. Here, we show that FM4-64, a fluorescent dye used to follow exocytosis, reliably reports AR progression induced by ionomycin and progesterone in human spermatozoa. FM4-64 clearly delimits the spermatozoa contour and reports morphological cell changes before, during, and after AR. This strategy unveiled the formation of moving tubular appendages, emerging from acrosome-reacted spermatozoa, which was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy. Alternate wavelength illumination allowed concomitant imaging of FM4-64 and Fluo-4, a Ca2 indicator. These AR and intracellular Ca2 ([Ca2 ]i) recordings revealed that the presence of [Ca2 ]i oscillations, both spontaneous and progesterone induced, prevents AR in human spermatozoa. Notably, the progesterone-induced AR is preceded by a second [Ca2 ]i peak and ∼40% of reacting spermatozoa also manifest a slow [Ca2 ]i rise ∼2 min before AR. Our findings uncover new AR features related to [Ca2 ]i.
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Vol. 91 • No. 3