Human sperm acrosome reaction-initiating activity associated with the human cumulus oophorus and mural granulosa cells

J Exp Zool. 1988 Apr;246(1):71-80. doi: 10.1002/jez.1402460110.


This report describes the detection and partial characterization of preovulatory human cumulus oophorus and mural granulosa cell-associated activity capable of initiating the human sperm acrosome reaction (AR) in vitro. Fragments of preovulatory human cumulus (cells plus extracellular matrix) were washed 3 times, incubated for 24 hr and the spent media and washes assayed for their ability to initiate the human sperm acrosome reaction (AR) in vitro. AR activity was present in the first two washes but not the third wash; however, AR activity was recovered in the spent medium after 3 X-washed fragments were incubated for 24 hr under conditions which maintained the viability of the cumulus cells. The spent media of preovulatory human mural granulosa cells contained AR-initiating activity after 1-3, 3-6, and 6-9 days of culture. The properties of the AR activity present in spent media of human cumulus fragments included resistance to loss of activity during treatment with pronase; resistance to loss of activity during treatment with chondroitinase ABC or bacterial hyaluronidase; heat stability after overnight incubation; lack of extraction by chloroform-methanol; an apparent molecular weight (MW) of 50,000, as determined by Sephadex G-75 column chromatography; conversion to a lower apparent MW activity by incubation with pronase. These properties are also characteristic of a fraction derived by Sephadex G-75 chromatography of preovulatory human follicular fluid which also has been shown to stimulate the human sperm acrosome reaction in vitro. The AR activity from spent media of human mural granulosa cells is also found in a 50,000 MW Sephadex G-75 fraction. We propose that the sources of the 50,000 MW human follicular fluid AR activity are the cumulus oophorus and the mural granulosa cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acrosome / physiology*
  • Acrosome / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondroitin Lyases / pharmacology
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Granulosa Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase / pharmacology
  • Lipids / physiology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Weight
  • Ovarian Follicle / cytology
  • Ovarian Follicle / physiology*
  • Pronase / pharmacology
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*


  • Culture Media
  • Lipids
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase
  • Pronase
  • Chondroitin Lyases