Caffeine induces sperm detachment from sperm head-to-head agglutination in bull

Kohei Umezu, Shouhei Kurata, Kenshiro Hara, Kentaro Tanemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sperm head-to-head agglutination is a well-known known phenomenon in mammalian and non-mammalian species. Although several factors have been reported to induce sperm agglutination, information on the trigger and process of sperm detachment from the agglutination is scarce. Since hyperactivated motility is involved in bovine sperm detachment from the oviduct, we focused on caffeine, a well-known hyperactivation inducer, and aimed to determine the role of caffeine in sperm detachment from agglutination. Agglutination rate of bovine sperm was significantly decreased upon incubation with caffeine following pre-incubation without caffeine. Additionally, we observed that bovine sperm were detached from agglutination only when the medium contained caffeine. The detached sperm showed more asymmetrical flagellar beating compared to the undetached motile sperm, regardless of whether before or after the detachment. Intriguingly, some sperm that detached from agglutination re-agglutinated with different sperm agglutination. These findings indicated caffeine as a trigger for sperm detachment from the agglutination in bull. Furthermore, another well-known hyperactivation inducer, thimerosal, also significantly reduced the sperm agglutination rate. Overall, the study demonstrated the complete process of sperm detachment from sperm head-to-head agglutination and proposed that hyperactivated motility facilitates sperm detachment from another sperm. These findings would provide a better understanding of sperm physiology and fertilization process in mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 12


  • Agglutination
  • Caffeine
  • Hyperactivation
  • Spermatozoa
  • Thimerosal


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