Simple histochemical stain for acrosomes on sperm from several species

Jennine L. Larson, David J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The acrosome reaction is an exocytotic process that enables a sperm to penetrate the zona pellucida and fertilize an egg. The process involves the fenestration and vesiculation of the sperm plasma membrane and outer acrosomal membrane releasing the acrosomal contents. Many different methods have been developed to detect the acrosomal status of sperm. These techniques are sometimes complicated, costly, and can be used on only a few species. The aim of this study was to develop an efficient and inexpensive method to assess the acrosomal status of sperm from a variety of species. We prepared and fixed sperm from humans, cattle, swine, rabbits, guinea pigs, and mice and stained them with Coomassie G-250. The acrosomes were stained intensely blue in color. Following capacitation, some sperm were incubated for 1 hr with 10 μM calcium ionophore A23187 to induce the acrosome reaction. They were also stained with Coomassie G-250. Ionophore-treated sperm lacked Coomassie staining over the acrosomal region. Differential interference contrast (DIC), bright field microscopy or Pisum sativum agglutinin staining confirmed that the acrosomes of sperm from these species were reacted in response to calcium ionophore treatment and the acrosome reaction frequencies matched results with Coomassie staining. These results demonstrate that the acrosomal status of mammalian sperm from several species can be determined easily and reliably using this simple Coomassie Blue G-250 staining method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-449
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular reproduction and development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Acrosome reaction
  • Fertility
  • Fertilization
  • Spermatozoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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