JARB Journal of Animal Reproduction and Biotehnology

OPEN ACCESS pISSN: 2671-4639
eISSN: 2671-4663

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Journal of Embryo Transfer 2011; 26(4): 287-296

Published online December 31, 2011

Copyright © The Korean Society of Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology.

Importance of Sperm Capacitation, Removal of Cumulus Matrix, Acrosome Reaction, and Sperm-egg Fusion in the Process of In Vitro Fertilization

Kim, Ki-Sun, Hwang, Kyung-A, Kim, Hyoung-Chin, Nam, Ki-Hoan, Choi, Kyung-Chul

Laboratory of Veterinary Biochemistry and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 361-763, Republic of Korea, Biomedical Mouse Resource Center, KRIBB, Chungbuk 363-887, Republic of Korea


Mammalian fertilization is a complex cascade process consisting of sperm migration through the female reproductive tract, physiological changes to sperm such as sperm capacitation and acrosome reaction, and sperm-egg interaction in the oviduct in vivo. On the other hand, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the body: in vitro. IVF has been used for a variety of purposes in reproductive biotechnology for human and animals. The discovery of sperm capacitation in 1951 promoted the development of IVF technology. In the initial stage of IVF, sperm capacitation in preincubation medium was shown to be essential to fuse with eggs. Besides, sperms should detour some of the in vivo regulations for IVF. This review introduces a general mammalian fertilization process, including sperm capacitation, removal of cumulus matrix, acrosome reaction, and sperm-egg fusion and focuses on the roles of key biochemical molecules, signal mechanisms, and genes involved during IVF and novel results of sperm-oocyte interaction elucidated in various gene-knockout mice models.

Keywords: IVF, capacitation, acrosome reaction, sperm-egg fusion