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What Are The Components Of Sperm?

Jessica Rogalski
November 25, 2023

The Primary Components of Sperm

Sperm is a fluid that results from ejaculation from the penis during sexual intercourse. It is composed of various components, each serving a specific function. Learn about the details of sperm, what each element consists of, and their essential functions.

Secretion From The Cowper's Glands

The secretion from the Cowper's glands, also known as bulbourethral glands, is a clear, viscous fluid. It contains mucus and various enzymes, such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which helps to neutralize the acidity of the urethra and lubricate the passage for sperm during ejaculation.

Other enzymes in this secretion include:

1. Mucin: It is a glycoprotein that helps in lubricating the urethra and facilitates the passage of semen during ejaculation.

2. Proteolytic enzymes: These enzymes help in breaking down proteins present in the semen, which aids in liquefaction of the ejaculate.

3. Acid phosphatase: It is an enzyme that helps in maintaining the acidic pH of the semen, which is vital for sperm function and survival.

4. Fibrinolysin: This enzyme helps break down fibrin, a protein involved in blood clotting. Its presence in the Cowper's gland secretion helps to prevent the clotting of semen within the urethra.

These enzymes collectively contribute to the composition and function of the Cowper's gland secretion during sexual arousal and ejaculation.

PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) In Sperm

PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) is an enzyme that helps to liquefy sperm, allowing it to become more fluid and mobile. Liquefaction plays a crucial role in facilitating the mobility and viability of sperm cells as they navigate through the female reproductive system.

PSA is tested to check for prostate cancer because it is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. Elevated levels of PSA in the bloodstream may suggest the existence of prostate cancer or other prostate-related ailments, such as prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). However, it is essential to note that an elevated PSA level does not necessarily mean a person has prostate cancer, as other factors can also cause PSA levels to rise. Therefore, PSA testing serves as an initial screening tool to identify whether an individual needs further evaluation for prostate cancer.

semen components

Secretion From The Testes

The secretion from the testes primarily consists of sperm cells and various hormones, including testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and inhibin.

Spermatozoa (Sperm Cells)

Spermatozoa, also known as sperm cells, are the reproductive cells produced in the testes. They are responsible for fertilizing the female egg during sexual reproduction. The number of sperm cells produced in the testes and released during one ejaculation can vary. The testes produce around 100 million to 300 million sperm cells daily. However, during ejaculation, the number of sperm cells released is typically much lower.

A typical ejaculation can release anywhere from 40 million to 500 million sperm cells. Some ejaculates may contain more than a billion cells. The number can depend on overall health, age, and sexual activity.

Testosterone In Sperm

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, is secreted from the testes. It plays a pivotal role in maintaining and producing male reproductive tissues and secondary sexual characteristics. Testosterone stimulates the growth and development of the male reproductive organs, including the testes, prostate gland, and seminal vesicles. It also promotes the production of sperm cells in the testes.

Apart from its crucial role in male reproductive function, testosterone also impacts a range of other physiological processes in males. It helps regulate muscle mass and strength, bone density, and red blood cell production. Testosterone is also involved in maintaining libido (sex drive) and regulating mood and cognitive function.

Overall, testosterone is essential for the proper functioning of male reproductive organs and has a significant impact on various aspects of male physiology and behavior.


Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone predominantly synthesized in the testes and plays a pivotal role in the establishment and sustenance of male sexual traits. DHT is accountable for the growth and maturation of the male reproductive system, encompassing the penis, scrotum, and prostate gland. Furthermore, it aids in developing secondary sexual characteristics, such as facial and body hair growth, muscle mass, and deepening of the voice. Moreover, DHT is instrumental in regulating libido and contributes to sperm production.


Inhibin is a hormone secreted by the Sertoli cells in the testes. It plays a role in the negative feedback regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (a complex hormonal system that regulates reproductive function in both males and females). Inhibin inhibits the secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the anterior pituitary gland. By suppressing FSH secretion, inhibin helps regulate spermatogenesis and maintain optimal testosterone levels in the testes.

Prostate Secretion In Sperm

Prostate secretion is composed of several components, including:

1. Water: Most prostate secretions are water, which helps dilute and transport other components.

2. Enzymes: The prostate gland produces several enzymes, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which helps to liquefy semen after ejaculation.

3. Proteins: Prostate secretion contains various proteins, such as prostate-specific acid phosphatase (PSAP) and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which regulate cell growth and function.

4. Lipids: Prostate secretion contains lipids, including cholesterol and fatty acids, which help to maintain the integrity of the cell membranes and provide energy.

5. Electrolytes: The prostate gland secretes a variety of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, that play a crucial role in regulating fluid balance within the body.

6. Citric acid: The prostate gland produces citric acid, which helps to provide energy for sperm motility.

7. Zinc: Prostate secretion contains high levels of zinc, which is important for maintaining prostate health and function.

8. Immunoglobulins: Prostate secretion contains immunoglobulins, such as IgA and IgG, which help to protect against infections and maintain immune function in the reproductive system.

Each component works together to nourish and protect sperm cells during ejaculation.

Secretion From The Seminal Vesicles

The seminal vesicles, located behind the bladder in males, are a vital pair of small glands that play a crucial role in producing semen. This fluid serves as a carrier for sperm during ejaculation. The components of seminal vesicles in semen include:

1. Fructose: Seminal vesicles produce fructose, a type of sugar that provides energy for sperm cells.

2. Prostaglandins: These are hormone-like substances that help in the contraction of the female reproductive tract, aiding in sperm movement towards the egg.

3. Proteins and enzymes: Seminal vesicles secrete various proteins and enzymes, including fibrinogen, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and different proteolytic enzymes. These substances help in the coagulation and liquefaction of semen.

4. Vitamin C: Seminal vesicles also contribute vitamin C to semen, which helps protect sperm cells from oxidative damage.

5. Prostatic fluid: While not directly produced by the seminal vesicles, prostatic fluid is often mixed with seminal vesicle secretions to form semen. The prostatic fluid contains enzymes, citric acid, zinc, and other substances that nourish and protect sperm cells.

Overall, the components produced by seminal vesicles play crucial roles in providing energy to sperm cells, aiding their movement through the female reproductive tract, and protecting them from oxidative damage.

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