ProAKAP4 is the precursor of AKAP4 (A-kinase Anchor protein 4), the main structural protein of the fibrous sheath of sperm. The amount of proAKAP4 reflects the ability of spermatozoa to maintain the flagellum activity and functionality up to the site of fertilization and is positively correlated with progressive motility in several mammalian species. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between proAKAP4 concentration with horse sperm motility descriptors and spermatic motile subpopulations. For this purpose, a total of 48 ejaculates from 13 different stallions were analyzed. Spermatic motility descriptors were obtained by the CASA system, and four motile subpopulations (SP) with specific motility patterns were statistically identified. ProAKAP4 concentrations were evaluated by ELISA. The relationship between motility descriptors of sperm subpopulations and proAKAP4 concentrations was evaluated. Following a hierarchical cluster statistical analysis, ejaculates were divided into two groups according to their proAKAP4 concentrations, either having low proAKAP4 concentrations (5.06–35.61 ng/10M spz; n = 23) or high (39.92–82.23 ng/10M spz; n = 25) proAKAP4 concentrations (p < 0.001). ProAKAP4 concentrations were positively correlated (p < 0.05) with total and progressive motility, as well as with parameters of velocity. ProAKAP4 amount also showed a negative correlation (p < 0.05) with sperm motile subpopulation number 3, which was the subpopulation with the lowest velocity parameters. In conclusion, proAKAP4 concentration in stallion semen positively reflects sperm progressive motility with the functional velocity kinematic descriptors. Concentrations of proAKAP4 higher than 37.77 ng/10M spz were correlated with a very good quality frozen/thawed stallion semen.
- Spermatic subpopulations