Canine spermatozoa-what do we know about their morphology and physiology? An overview.
Spermatozoa are unique cells because of their morphological and physiological characteristics. They are produced during the process called spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis consists of three phases: spermatocytogenesis, spermiogenesis and spermiation, during which spermatozoa undergo several changes. Spermatogenesis takes place within the seminiferous tubules containing two types of cells-the germ cells and the Sertoli cells-that alongside the Leydig cells, which play an important role when it comes to normal fertility. Everything is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and specific hormones due to multi-hormonal feedback systems. Spermatozoa possess morphological and physiological features, which are sometimes completely different from what is observed in various somatic cells. What is more, canine spermatozoa have specific characteristics making them special compared to the spermatozoa of other mammalian species. The metabolic energy production, which is crucial for the appropriate functioning of spermatozoa, can be fuelled by different metabolic pathways utilizing different chemical substrates. Inseparable from the oxidative phosphorylation process is the production of reactive oxygen species, which are both essential and toxic to spermatozoa. Furthermore, epididymis is a very important structure, responsible for the transport and maturation of spermatozoa, which are then stored in the last segment of epididymis-the epididymal cauda. Moreover, the retrieval of spermatozoa from the epididymides is crucial for the development of assisted reproduction techniques and sperm cryopreservation methods. The information gained from the research on domestic dogs might be transferred to their wild relatives, especially those species categorized as endangered.