Human Sperm Velocities, Evaluation by Microcinematography and Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV)
An efficient motility of sperm is necessary for their penetration into the cervical mucus, transport through the female genital ducts and crossing of the periovular layers (1). Assessments of sperm motility are most of the time approximative and subjective. In seminal plasma, it is currently thought that the “good” spermatozoa have to swim straight and fast; in the vicinity of the ovocyte, the “whiplash” type of movement is often described as characteristic of the activated spermatozoa. The velocity is a motility parameter which can be measured by various techniques (2) but there is not a general agreement on the type of velocity measured and its signification. We describe the different kinds of velocities which may be measured by microcinematography (MC) and laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) in seminal plasma (SP) and cervical mucus (CM). The spermatozoa were filmed at 20–22° C according to a technique previously described (3). For studies in SP, 25 μl of semen samples were placed between a slide and a 22 × 32 coverslip (approximative depth: 30μm). For studies in CM, cine was proceeded one hour after in vitro penetration of spermatozoa in preovulatory CM gently aspirated in a 1 mm square glass pipette (4). LDV is a technique analysing the light frequency changes induced by and related to sperm velocities according to Doppler effect (2). The experimental conditions for LDV measurements were the same as those used for MC except the depth of the studied semen sample (100 μm).
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