Cholesterol efflux and membrane destabilization play an important role in sperm capacitation and membrane fusion in the acrosome reaction (AR). In this study we establish the effect of cholesterol removal from spermatozoa on acrosomal responsiveness. Mature goat spermatozoa were incubated in BSA-free medium in the presence of β-cyclodextrin (βCD) as cholesterol acceptor. After incubation with 8 mM βCD, 50-60% of cholesterol was released from sperm membranes with no loss in the phospholipid content, and 35% of AR was induced. However, when 30% of cholesterol was lost, this moderate cholesterol decrease was unable to initiate AR. Cholesterol desorption was very rapid, following an exponential kinetics with a half-time of around 10 min, which is in contrast with the slow sigmoidal kinetics of acrosomal responsiveness: around 2 h was required for maximal AR. Our results suggest that cholesterol efflux has a direct influence on the onset of the AR, that is, merely removing cholesterol would trigger the AR.
Iborra, A., Companyó, M., Martínez, P., & Morros, A. (2000). Cholesterol efflux promotes acrosome reaction in goat spermatozoa. Biology of Reproduction, 62, 378-383. https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod62.2.378