How do sperm move
Under a microscope, human sperm seem to swim like wiggling eels, tails gyrating to and fro as they seek an egg to fertilize. But now, new 3D microscopy and high-speed video reveal that sperm don't swim in this simple, symmetrical motion at all. Instead, they move with a rollicking spin that compensates for the fact that their tails actually beat only to one side. Related: Sexy swimmers: 7 facts about sperm.
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Researchers Discover How Human Sperm Really Swim
Sperm transport in the female reproductive tract | Human Reproduction Update | Oxford Academic
In Anton van Leeuwenhoek , Dutch scientist and inventor of the first compound microscope , finally gave into peer pressure from his colleagues and used the tool to examine his own semen. Each had a rounded head and, van Leeuwenhoek thought, a tail that moved side to side to project it through fluid. Rather than moving side-to-side, sperm tails actually turn in only one direction. Without other adjustments, a one-sided stroke would result in sperm swimming in circles and never reaching their destination, the female egg. To compensate, the scientists found, the body or head of the sperm rotates independently in a corkscrew-like motion in the opposite direction, enabling the whole cell to move forward in a straight line. And the result has completely changed the belief system that we have. They set the sperm solution in a stabilized 3-D microscope to scan for motion as a high-speed camera recorded more than 55, frames per second at many angles.
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By Linda Geddes. Giving sperm a boost as they near their target. The switch that transforms sperm into super-swimmers in the race towards the egg has been identified at last. The discovery could lead to drugs that boost male fertility and new forms of male contraceptives. It could also explain why zinc deficiency and smoking cannabis can impair male fertility.
Most of us probably think of sperm as rather active little cells, swimming with quick movements of their "tail" or flagella. But actually sperm's motility is in fact short lived. When in the male reproductive tract they have to rest easy, lest they wear themselves out prematurely and give up any chance of ever finding an egg. Scientists have long known that sperm's activity level depends on their internal pH. And now -- after many years of looking -- researchers reporting in the February 5th issue of the journal Cell , have finally found the channel that allows the tiny cells to rid themselves of protons.
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