Recording and sorting live human sperm undergoing acrosome reaction

Fluorescent Pisum sativum agglutinin rapidly labels and stabilizes the acrosomal matrix when exocytic fusion pores open in live human sperm, as assessed by confocal microscopy, electron microscopy, and flow cytometry.

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Felipe Carlos Martín Zoppino, Ph.D., Narciso D. Halón, B.S., Matías A. Bustos, M.S., Martín A. Pavarotti, Ph.D., Luis S. Mayorga, Ph.D.

Vol 97, Issue 6 , Pages 1309-1315



To develop and evaluate a method to detect acrosome reaction (AR) in live human sperm.


Prospective study.


Basic research laboratory.


Human semen samples with normal parameters obtained from healthy donors.


Acrosome reaction assays.

Main Outome Measure(s):

Fluorescence assessment of AR.


Evaluating acrosomal exocytosis in live human sperm is challenging. In this study, we report that in reacting sperm, Pisum sativum agglutinin conjugated to fluorescein isothiocyanate rapidly permeates into the acrosome when fusion pores open and stabilizes the acrosomal matrix, preventing the dispersal of the granule contents.


Fluorescent Pisum sativum agglutinin can be used to visualize AR in real time, to determine the percentage of sperm undergoing exocytosis upon stimulation, and to separate the population of reacting sperm by flow cytometry.

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Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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