Transmission electron microscopic observations of acrosome and head abnormalities in impala (Aepyceros melampus) sperm from the Kruger National Park
Sperm morphological features play an important role in semen evaluation. Exposure to a variety of chemical compounds, especially environmental endocrine disrupters, elicit abnormalities in sperm of certain species. Baseline data on ultrastructure of normal sperm as well as abnormalities observed concomitantly, are required before causal links between such substances and abnormalities can be established. Live spermatozoa were collected from the cauda epididymis of 64 impala rams in the Kruger National Park and studied by transmission electron microscopy to document normal sperm features and abnormalities. The following abnormalities of the acrosome and sperm head were documented from micrographs: Loose acrosome in various stages of disintegration, lip forming of the acrosome; bizarre head, crater defect, poor condensation of the nucleus and the Dag defect. The observed abnormalities were very similar to those reported for other members of the Bovidae. Different forms of a hollow sphere, formed by the nucleus and covered by an abnormal acrosome have not previously been described for other species.