Sperm cells that swim in a group have a greater chance of being the first to reach the woman’s egg than the spermatozoid that embarks on an adventure on its own. This is according to American research.
Rutger LuitenSource: Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, NU.nl
Today at 21:37
The idea that sperm cells run an individual race to fertilize an egg is based on “flat” images under a microscope, researchers at Cornell University and North Carolina A&T State University found. When the scientists made a 3D model, they saw something completely different: the used bull sperm cells – which are similar to human sperm – often worked together by swimming in groups.
The researchers were amazed by this behaviour. To clarify things, the scientists injected fresh bull semen into a tube of liquid that resembled the mucus in a uterus. It turned out that a ‘sperm platoon’ penetrated the slime much more easily than the soloists. It reminded the researchers of cycling. Because even with the sperm cells, there was not always one person in the lead.
The explanation for the cooperation could be that there is a greater chance that at least one spermatozoid will enter the fallopian tube. They might not be able to do that alone “because of the strong flow of uterine fluids,” said one of the researchers.
The research was published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.