Clinical importance of a micro-assay for the evaluation of sperm acrosome reaction using homologous zona pellucida
This study aimed to develop an acrosome reaction assay using microvolumes of solubilized human zonae pellucidae among 35 couples attending an in vitro fertilization programme. The sperm morphology of the men was classified as g-pattern (5-14% normal forms) and/or normal pattern (>14% normal forms). All the couples had a history of repeated poor or failed in vitro fertilization rates from previous attempts. A zona-induced acrosome reaction test was performed using homologous 0.25 zona pellucida μl-1 incubated with spermatozoa to induce the acrosome reaction. Acrosome reactions were measured with FITC-PSA staining, and expressed as the difference between zona-induced and spontaneous acrosome reaction spermatozoa. The results indicated that microvolumes of solubilized human zona pellucida could successfully be used to determine the acrosome reaction status of spermatozoa. The results were compared with in vitro fertilization rates of metaphase II oocytes, and analysed with the receiver operating characteristics curve. Receiver operating characteristics analyses divided the patients into two groups: i.e. zona-induced acrosome reaction <15% and >15%. The sensitivity and specificity for zona-induced acrosome reaction results versus fertilization were 93% and 100%, respectively. The correlation coefficient between zona-induced acrosome reaction and in vitro fertilization was r=0.94 (P<0.0001). Zona-induced acrosome reaction data can be used as an indictor for fertilization failure, thus helping clinicians to refine the therapeutic approach for infertile couples prior to the onset of the treatment.