Following insemination, ram spermatozoa are transported to the isthmus region of the oviduct where they bind to the oviductal epithelial cells (OEC), remaining viable for several hours. The aim of the present study was to begin to decipher which component(s) of the ewe oviduct actively participates in maintaining the viability of ram spermatozoa. A series of experiments was conducted to investigate whether: (1) soluble OEC apical plasma membrane proteins (sAPM) isolated from ewes prolong survival of ram spermatozoa over an extended (48 h) coincubation period at 39°C; (2) a recombinant form of one of these oviductal proteins, namely heat shock 70 kDa protein 8 (HSPA8), prolongs survival of ram spermatozoa; and (3) pretreatment with HSPA8 antibody compromises the ability of sAPM to prolong the survival of ram spermatozoa. Both sAPM and recombinant HSPA8 had a beneficial effect on the viability of ram spermatozoa during coincubation, although both these effects were dose dependent. In contrast, pretreatment with HSPA8 antibody significantly negated the ability of sAPM to maintain the viability of ram spermatozoa. These findings suggest that HSPA8 is an active component of the ewe oviduct that participates in maintaining the viability of ram spermatozoa. This is a potentially valuable observation given that there is a great deal of room for improving existing diluents for storing fresh ram semen.