Leptin and leptin receptor are detectable in equine spermatozoa but are not involved in in vitro fertilisation

Anna Lange-Consiglio, Bruna Corradetti, Claudia Perrini, Davide Bizzaro, Fausto Cremonesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In human and swine, leptin (OB) has been identified in seminal plasma and leptin receptors (OB-R) on the cell surface of spermatozoa, indicating that spermatozoa are a target for OB. This hormone has also been detected in follicular fluid (FF) in women and mares, although its role requires further study. The aims of this study were to investigate the immunolocalisation and the expression of OB and OB-R in equine spermatozoa and to evaluate the involvement of OB in equine in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Since progesterone (P) and OB are both found in FF, the individual and combined effects of these two hormones were studied in equine IVF and compared with the results obtained from the use of FF for in vitro sperm preparation. For the first time, we were able to identify OB and OB-R mRNA and their corresponding proteins in equine spermatozoa. When spermatozoa were treated with OB, there was a decrease in the three motility parameters VSL, STR and LIN, commonly associated with hyperactivation, whilst the acrosome reaction rate increased (P<0.05). The fertilisation rate was 51% with FF, 46.15% with P, 43.64% with P+OB and 0% with OB alone. The percentage of eight-cell stage embryos was 18.7% with FF, 17.1% with P and 16.7% with OB+P. OB alone did not permit oocyte fertilisation, indicating that, in the horse, OB is involved in capacitation and hyperactivation but not in sperm penetration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-585
Number of pages12
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016


  • follicular fluid
  • horse
  • hyperactivation
  • immunocytochemistry
  • progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Developmental Biology


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