Ovarian fluid and its impacts on spermatozoa performance in fish: A review.


School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


Factors such as gamete quality can profoundly affect fertility, but the spawning micro-environment that surrounds the spermatozoa and eggs during gamete contact has largely been neglected. In fishes, understanding these gametic interactions is crucial because each female creates a unique spawning environment by simultaneously expelling her distinct ovarian fluid (OF) along with an egg batch. In turn, OF has been shown to influence spermatozoa performance traits by modifying spermatozoa behaviors and fertilization outcomes. Here, we shed light on these gametic interactions by overviewing literature on OF and how it impacts spermatozoa performance traits. Fish OF is clear or has slight coloration and can constitute ≤10-30% of egg mass. Viscosity of the OF is ∼2- to 3-fold higher than water and its pH ranges 6.2 to 8.8. Osmolality of the OF is lower in freshwater (190-322 mOsmol/kg) than marine species (289-514 mOsmol/kg). Na+ (98.3-213.7 mmol/L) and Cl- (89.8-172.7 mmol/L) are predominant ions in OF, while K+ (1.7-19.3 mmol/L), Mg2+ (0.4-8.1 mmol/L), and Ca2+(0.5-9.7 mmol/L) ions are detected at lower concentrations. Protein levels can be high in OF and exhibit intra- and inter-species variation (54-826 mg/100 mL). Fish OF also contains a series of organic components and substances that enhance and/or attract sperm towards the vicinity of an egg. OF can also differentially impact sperm based on genetic relatedness of mates, male phenotype (i.e. alternative reproductive tactics), or geographic origin. To conclude, when testing further reproductive paradigms, we suggest a shift from classic spermatozoa activation medium (water only) to more natural spawning media, which encompass OF-spermatozoa interactions.


Aquaculture,Cryptic female choice,Gamete interaction,Maternal effect,Reproduction,Sperm competition,

OUR Recent Articles