[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For artificial insemination (AI) in cattle, much lower insemination doses can be applied when fresh semen is used instead of frozen-thawed semen. However, a particular disadvantage of fresh semen is its limited shelf life. As bovine spermatozoa can be stored for several weeks in the cauda epididymis without negative effects on their fertilizing capacity, it is an interesting organ to serve as a model in order to prolong the shelf life of fresh semen. First, the storage capacity of a diluent [cauda epididymal plasma (CEP-1)] with the same ionic composition, pH and osmolarity as the bovine CEP was compared with a Tris diluent for extended preservation of fresh ejaculated bovine semen. Secondly, the ionic composition of the CEP-1 diluent was modified (CEP-2) and its storage capacity was compared with this of the CEP-1 and Tris diluent. Finally, the effect of addition of different polyols (sorbitol, glycerol, mannitol) and egg yolk concentrations (5, 10 and 20%) to the CEP-2 diluent was assessed. Sperm quality decreased rapidly in the CEP-1 diluent. The quality and especially progressive motility of spermatozoa stored in the CEP-2 diluent were better those in the CEP-1 and Tris diluent. No significant effects of different sugars or egg yolk concentrations on the quality of fresh bovine semen in the CEP-2 diluent were observed. In conclusion, the CEP-2 diluent with 10% egg yolk and 1 g/l sorbitol may be used for extended preservation of fresh bovine semen at 5 degrees C up to 6 days.
Reproduction in Domestic Animals 01/2005; 39(6):410-6. · 1.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new artificial insemination device for semen deposition near the utero-tubal junction in cattle (Ghent device) has been developed at the Ghent University (Belgium). In this study, the effect of the new insemination device on sperm quality was evaluated. Moreover, in a field trial 4064 dairy cows were inseminated by 12 inseminators to examine the efficacy of the device under field conditions. The Ghent device is a disposable plastic catheter which can easily follow the curvature of the uterine horns and thus reach the utero-tubal junction (UTJ). After expulsion of the inseminate with 0.7 or 1.7 ml of air, 19.0% of the insemination dose remained in the insemination catheter. Sperm loss can be diminished to 9.0% of the original insemination dose when the insemination catheter is flushed with 0.1 ml of air, followed by 0.6 ml of physiological saline solution. No toxic effect of the insemination catheter on sperm quality or fertilizing capacity was found. In the field trial, sperm were inseminated in dairy cattle which were divided in three groups. The first group was inseminated in the uterine body with the conventional insemination device, the second group in the uterine body with the Ghent device, and the third group in the tip of both uterine horns with the Ghent device. Each insemination was performed with 10 x 10(6) to 15 x 10(6) frozen-thawed spermatozoa. The pregnancy rates (PRs) were significantly affected by the insemination technique (P = 0.02), by the inseminator (P = 0.01), by heifer or cow (P < 0.01), and by the insemination number (P < 0.01). Pregnancy rates obtained with the conventional insemination device (57.6%) were significantly better than those obtained with the Ghent device in the uterine body (52.7%) (P < 0.01), but did not differ significantly from those obtained after deep insemination into both uterine horns (53.8%) (P = 0.27). It can be concluded that the Ghent device is suitable for utero-tubal junction insemination of dairy cattle under field conditions. Whether the Ghent device is also suitable for insemination with lower insemination doses is at present under investigation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Under physiologic conditions, low concentrations of blood may be present in the uterine fluid of the estrous cow at the moment of insemination. To decrease the insemination dose and to obtain good insemination results with less fertile semen, more invasive insemination methods such as utero tubal junction (UTJ) insemination can be used. More invasive insemination methods increase the risk of damaging the hyperemic endometrium, with blood in the uterine fluid as result. In this study, the effect of 0, 0.15 and 1.5% whole blood and serum on bovine sperm quality and in vitro fertilizing capacity was evaluated. Sperm quality as assessed by total motility, progressive motility, membrane integrity and acrosomal status was not affected by the presence of blood or serum (P > 0.05). However, the in vitro fertilizing capacity decreased with increasing concentrations of blood and serum (P < 0.01). The rate of polyspermy increased with increasing concentrations of serum (P < 0.01), but not with increasing concentrations of blood (P = 0.30). In conclusion, no immediate effect of blood and serum was visible on several sperm quality parameters, except for an increased prevalence of head to head agglutination (HHA). However, blood and serum did have a negative effect on in vitro fertilizing capacity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, environmental conditions mimicking those prevailing in the epididymis were used for storing ejaculated bull spermatozoa in vitro during 4 days at ambient temperature. These conditions were low pH, high osmolarity, high sperm concentration and low oxygen tension. Hepes-TALP was used as basic storage medium. Fresh spermatozoa were stored at a concentration of 10 x 10(6)spermatozoa/ml in Hepes-TALP of different pH (pH 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8), and osmolarity (100, 300, 400, 500, 600 or 800 mOsm/kg), and under different atmospheric conditions (nitrogen gassed or aerobic). Spermatozoa were also stored undiluted or at different concentrations: 10x 10(6), 100 x 10(6), 500 x 10(6) or 1 x 10(9)spermatozoa/ml. Sperm parameters such as membrane integrity, motility, mitochondrial membrane potential or DNA fragmentation were used to assess semen quality after storage. Adjustment of the pH of Hepes-TALP to pH 6 yielded significantly better results than storage at all other pH values. Isotonic Hepes-TALP (300 mOsm/kg) had a less detrimental effect on spermatozoa than hypo- and hyperosmotic versions. No differences in sperm parameters were observed when spermatozoa were incubated under aerobic or under nitrogen gassed storage conditions. Optimal sperm concentration in vitro is 10 x 10(6)spermatozoa/ml. This is in contrast with the in vivo situation, where spermatozoa are stored at high concentration. However, better results at high sperm concentrations were obtained when spermatozoa were diluted for less than 5 min in Triladyl-egg yolk-glycerol diluent immediately after ejaculation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of sperm coating on the survival and penetrating ability of in vitro stored diluted spermatozoa. Bovine semen was collected by means of an artificial vagina connected with a tube containing 5 ml of the commercial Triladyl diluent supplemented with 20% egg yolk and 6.7% glycerol (EYTG). Both EYTG and seminal plasma were removed by centrifugation and the spermatozoa were stored under different in vitro storage conditions. In the first and second experiment, "control" and "coated" spermatozoa were stored in Hepes-TALP (pH 6 and 7) at room temperature. After 4 days of storage, the progressive motility, membrane integrity, mitochondrial membrane potential or DNA integrity of the spermatozoa were evaluated before and after Percoll centrifugation. The in vitro penetration rate of the spermatozoa was examined only after Percoll centrifugation. A significantly (P<0.05) positive influence of sperm coating was observed on the tested sperm characteristics and penetration rate of spermatozoa when they were stored in Hepes-TALP at pH 7, but not at pH 6. In the last experiment, the influence of the storage medium Hepes-TALP (pH 7) or EYTG was investigated on motility, membrane integrity, mitochondrial membrane potential and in vitro penetration potential of "coated" spermatozoa stored at room temperature or at 4 degrees C during 4, 5 and 6 days. After 6 days of storage, a significantly (P<0.05) higher percentage of motile and membrane intact spermatozoa with high mitochondrial membrane potential was obtained in EYTG at both temperatures leading to a significantly higher in vitro penetration rate. These results indicate that sperm coating could preserve sperm characteristics and penetrating capacity of fresh bovine spermatozoa stored in egg yolk containing diluent for up to 6 days.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new in vitro method was developed for analyzing the capacity of sperm to bind to oviductal epithelium to determine whether this binding capacity could be used to predict nonreturn rates (NRR). Sperm binding was evaluated by counting 5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1',3,3'-tetraethylbenzimidazolyl-carbocyanine iodide (JC-1)-labeled spermatozoa attached to oviductal epithelium and by measuring the surface area of the oviduct explants by means of an image analysis program. Hepes + Tyrode albumin lactate pyruvate (TALP) was a more useful medium than in vitro fertilization (IVF)-TALP, TCM-199 medium + 10% fetal calf serum, and TCM-199 medium alone for the investigation of sperm binding to oviductal explants. Oviduct explants with a surface area of < 20 000 micro m(2) provided more consistent results than did explants with a surface area of >100 000 micro m(2). A positive association was found between the log(e) transformed number of spermatozoa bound to 0.1 mm(2) oviductal epithelium and the NRR of the respective sires after 24 h of coincubation, provided that the membrane integrity of the sperm sample was >60%. Determination of the capacity of sperm to bind to oviductal explants could become a reliable in vitro method for predicting the NRR of a given sire.
Biology of Reproduction 10/2002; 67(4):1073-9. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although sperm migration has been extensively refined and validated in human infertility studies, its application to predict bovine fertility has been very limited, and a clear relation between the sperm migration distance and in vivo bull fertility has never been demonstrated. A synthetic medium based upon methyl cellulose (MC) was tested for its suitability to serve as a migration medium for frozen-thawed bovine spermatozoa. The effects of the concentration of MC, the incubation time, and sperm concentration on sperm migration capacity was determined. The relation between sperm migration capacity at different incubation times of the frozen-thawed spermatozoa of five bulls, and their 56 days nonreturn rates (NRRs) was assessed in order to evaluate its suitability as a tool to predict in vivo bull fertility. The highest repeatability of the sperm migration test (CV = 10.7%) was obtained when the sperm migration distance of the five vanguard motile spermatozoa was determined at 30 min incubation at 37 degrees C in a migration medium with 1.35% MC. No significant difference in migration distance was demonstrated when sperm concentrations of 100 x 10(6) and 150 x 10(6) spermatozoa/ml, respectively, were used. Despite the relatively high repeatability of the migration test, no relation was found between the sperm migration distance and the 56 days NRRs of five sire bulls. Therefore, the sperm migration test in 1.35% MC cannot be used to predict in vivo bull fertility accurately.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CONTENTS: Fertilization encompasses a series of different steps which have to be performed in a well-orchestrated way to create a new individual. They include sperm capacitation, sperm binding and penetration of the zona pellucida, traversing the perivitelline space, binding and fusion with the oolemma, activation of the oocyte and decondensation of the sperm head to form the male pronucleus. In most mammalian species, cumulus cells surround the oocyte at the time of fertilization. Removal of the cumulus oophorus at this point of time often leads to a drop in fertilization rates. It is not yet known how cumulus cells interact with the oocyte or with spermatozoa to promote fertilization. There are different possibilities: 1 cumulus cells cause mechanical entrapment of spermatozoa and guide hyperactivated spermatozoa towards the oocyte, while preventing abnormal spermatozoa to enter the cumulus matrix; 2 cumulus cells create a micro-environment for the spermatozoa which favours their capacitation and penetration into the oocyte; 3 cumulus cells prevent changes in the oocyte which are unfavourable for normal fertilization; these changes can be located in the zona pellucida or in the cytoplasm. In this review, studies in several species are listed to prove the importance of these three cumulus cell functions and the current lines of research are highlighted. Moreover, different ways to improve in vitro fertilization of bovine cumulus-denuded oocytes are discussed.
Reproduction in Domestic Animals 07/2002; 37(3):144-51. · 1.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of hormones (testosterone, dihydrotestosterone [DHT], and hydrocortisone) on the protein secretion of caput and cauda epididymal epithelial cells cultured in principal cell medium (PCM). A confluent monolayer of caput and cauda epididymal epithelial cells was obtained from serum-containing PCM in the presence or absence of hormones after 7 days of culture at 38.5 degrees C (5% CO(2) in air). The protein secretion of epididymal epithelial monolayers incubated in serum-free PCM for 3 days was examined. The secreted proteins were separated by 2-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D SDS-PAGE). A comparison of the different protein patterns showed 61 spots, of which 11 were secreted only in the presence of hormones, 3 appeared to show hormone-related changes, and 25 were region-specific. Most of these secreted proteins were low-molecular-weight acidic proteins. To obtain evidence of the epididymal origin of the secreted proteins, proteins present in caput and cauda epididymal plasma were analyzed. In conclusion, our data indicate that hormones influence the synthesis of a number of caput and cauda epididymal proteins. Some of these proteins could be important for improving our understanding of spermatozoa maturation and storage and their acquisition of fertilizing ability.
Journal of Andrology 24(3):401-7. · 2.53 Impact Factor