00369-A: Analysis of the Ultrastructure of the Canine Zona Pellucida
Grant Status: Closed
Our objective is to assess the ultrastructure and molecular composition of the canine zona pellucida (ZP), and examine canine sperm interactions with the ZP. The ZP is the extracellular matrix that surrounds both immature and ovulated oocytes. Sperm must bind to and interact with the ZP for successful fertilization. In other mammals, the ZP is a promising contraceptive target. While contraceptive antibodies targeted against ZP proteins have been developed, they also induce a T cell response in mice that can lead to autoimmune ovarian disease. Clearly there is need for better contraceptive methods. Because of many differences in canine reproductive physiology compared to other mammals, it has not been possible to directly extrapolate reproductive information from other species and apply it directly to dogs. The need for canine-specific, basic research is critical before new applied contraceptive methods can be achieved. The ultimate goal of our research is to create a safe, effective long-acting contraceptive that is reversible, inexpensive, and feasible to administer with little or no side effect.
Help Future Generations of Dogs
Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.