Intracellular pH has been shown to be an important physiological parameter in cell cycle control and differentiation, aspects that are central to the spermatogenic process. However, the pH regulatory mechanisms in spermatogenic cells have not been systematically explored. In this work, measuring intracellular pH (pH(i)) with a fluorescent probe (BCECF), membrane potential with a fluorescent lipophilic anion (bisoxonol), and net movement of acid using a pH-stat system, we have found that rat round spermatids regulate pH(i) by means of a V-type H+-ATPase, a HCO3- entry pathway, a Na+/HCO3- dependent transport system, and a putative proton conductive pathway. Rat spermatids do not have functional base extruder transport systems. These pH regulatory characteristics seem specially designed to withstand acid challenges, and can generate sustained alkalinization upon acid exit stimulation.
- Male reproduction
- Seminiferous tubule