The dynamics of sperm DNA stability in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa before and after cryopreservation.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of sperm DNA fragmentation in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa at various processing stages before and after cryopreservation. Five semen samples from four elephants were assessed at four different stages during processing; after (1) collection and reextension in TEST-egg yolk; (2) cooling to 5 °C; (3) equilibration for 1 h with glycerol; (4) thawing. An experimental approach was adopted that allowed comparisons of DNA fragmentation rates developed after the various processing stages. For this, spermatozoa were incubated in TEST-yolk media at 37 °C for 0, 4, 8, 24 and 48 h, and sperm DNA fragmentation rates were estimated using an elephant-specific Halosperm procedure. Incubation at 37 °C induced a rapid increase in DNA fragmentation, and significant differences between males were observed. The overall rate of increase over 4 h was estimated at about 5% per hour, and no significant changes to this rate were observed at the different processing stages, even, including the post-thaw samples. As semen quality of the five ejaculates was relatively poor, the basic semen parameter data were compared with nine different samples collected 11 mo earlier to see whether the tested samples were atypical or representative of the population, As there was no significant difference between the two sets of samples, it is believed that the samples tested for DNA stability were not unusually sensitive. These results suggest that Asian elephant spermatozoa are more susceptible to DNA fragmentation than spermatozoa of other mammals.