Characterisation of movement pattern and velocities of stallion spermatozoa depending on donor, season and cryopreservation.
ABSTRACT The aim of the study was to compare different types of movement pattern and velocities of stallion spermatozoa depending on cryopreservation during breeding and non-breeding season. Ejaculates were collected from four stallions during May (n = 24) and December (n = 24). Parameters of sperm movement were evaluated by computer-aided sperm analysis (CASA) system, and included percentages of motile spermatozoa, different patterns of motility, the velocity, linearity (LIN), amplitude of lateral head displacement (ALH) and beat-cross frequency (BCF). In winter the average percentages of motility were slightly higher compared to the breeding season in May (70.8 +/- 12.7% vs. 66.8 +/- 12.2%, respectively). Cryopreservation and thawing led to a significant decrease in the number of motile sperm to 11.3 +/- 5.8% in May and 15.6 +/- 7.0% in December. The pattern of motility was also changed. Detailed analysis by CASA demonstrated that cryopreservation resulted in a shift from the proportions of linear to more non-linear motile spermatozoa and to a significant increase of local motile and hyperactivated spermatozoa. Mean velocity of fresh motile spermatozoa differed between May and December (119.1 +/- 43.9 vs. 164.4 +/- 66.4 microm/sec, respectively; P < 0.05). Cryopreservation and thawing led to a slight increase of curvilinear velocity (VCL) and straight line velocity (VSL). The motility analysis has shown that the parameters BCF and ALH were highly correlated in stallion spermatozoa (r = -0.67; P < 0.001). The BCF of stallion spermatozoa was slightly reduced in the non-breeding season. Altogether, the influence of factors on the motility of stallion spermatozoa has the following rank order: cryopreservation (P < 0.0001) > stallion (P < 0.001) > season (P < 0.05).