Copulation Induces an Acute Increase in Epididymal Sperm Numbers in Rats
The temporal changes in epididymal sperm numbers during the month after sexual contact were examined in 80 adult albino rats. The comparably sexually experienced males in 6 experimental groups were allowed 3 ejaculations with ovariectomized females in which oestrus was induced by hormone injections. Epididymides were removed from the experimental males 1 h, 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, 7 days or 30 days later. Control males were sexually inexperienced or sexually experienced and living with females. Epididymal sperm counts revealed a pattern that resembled an inverted V-shaped function with a peak at 48 h after copulation. We suggest that sexual activity provokes an acute attentuation of sperm disposal within the epididymis with the result that more spermatozoa are available for ejaculation during sexually active times.