Letter | Published:

Function of Hyaluronidase in Fertilization

Nature volume 162, pages 6364 (10 July 1948) | Download Citation



Pincus1 and Pincus and Enzmann2 observed that the mass of follicle cells surrounding the freshly ovulated rabbit egg could be dispersed by means of sperm suspensions, and they inferred the presence of a proteolytic enzyme. Gilchrist and Pincus3, describing the events taking place during in vivo fertilization in the rat, state that the freeing of adherent follicle cells is "an inevitable accompaniment of sperm penetration . . .". Afterwards, McClean and Rowlands4 and Fekete and Duran-Reynals5 produced evidence to show that the enzyme is probably hyaluronidase. They also expressed the view that the denudation of the egg is a necessary preliminary to the penetration of the sperm, and this theory, and the important role thus ascribed to hyaluronidase, have become widely accepted.

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  1. National Institute for Medical Research, Hampstead, N.W.3. March 22.

    • C. R. AUSTIN


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