In vitro evaluation of the quality and fertilizing capacity of boar semen frozen in 0.25 ml straws

Department of Animal Pathology (Animal Health), University of Leon, Leon, Spain.
Reproduction in Domestic Animals (Impact Factor: 1.18). 05/2006; 41(2):153-61. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0531.2006.00659.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Twenty-two boar ejaculates were frozen in 0.25 ml straws using a controlled cooling rate, then evaluated in vitro in order to assess: (i) the extent to which a range of semen evaluation parameters accurately characterize sperm quality, (ii) the value of quality assessment in the characterization of long-term sperm survival and fertility and (iii) the suitability of the cryopreservation protocol used for yielding semen with good quality and fertilizing capacity. Motility with or without caffeine, plasma membrane integrity (PMI) evaluated with both propidium iodide (PI) and Hoechst 33258, and acrosome morphology were studied, the ejaculates being then classified into five quality groups. A thermoresistance test and a homologous in vitro fertilization test were applied to selected ejaculates of these groups. Caffeine-stimulated motility and PMI evaluated with PI provided better estimations of semen quality than the other tests of motility, PMI, or acrosome morphology, but this quality assessment could not reveal differences in fertilizing capacity or thermoresistance among ejaculates. Over 43% spermatozoa survived cryopreservation in 19 of the 22 ejaculates, with inter-boar and inter-ejaculate variability in the freezing success being observed. The fertilizing capacity, however, was seriously affected by the process regardless of the semen quality. It is concluded that caffeine-stimulated motility and PMI evaluated with PI give accurate information on sperm quality, but important aspects to the valuation of semen such as thermoresistance and fertilizing capacity are not revealed by this quality study. Moreover, the approach of selecting suitable protocols of cryopreservation does not appear to be sufficient for guaranteeing systematically good quality and fertilizing capacity in the frozen-thawed semen.

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