Adrienne E Crosier

Conservation Biology Institute, Corvallis, Oregon, United States

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Publications (15)39 Total impact

  • Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2013; · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As the only domesticated species known to exhibit both induced and spontaneous ovulation, the cat is a model for understanding the nuances of ovarian control. To explore ovarian sensitivity to exogenous gonadotropins and the influence of progestin priming, we conducted a study of queens that were down-regulated with oral progestin or allowed to cycle normally, followed by 'low' or 'high' doses of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Our metrics included 1) fecal steroid metabolite profiles before and after ovulation induction, 2) laparoscopic examination of ovarian follicles and corpora lutea (CL) on Days 2 and 17 (Day 0 = hCG administration), and 3) ovariohysterectomy (Day 17) to assess CL progesterone concentrations, morphometrics, and histology. Reproductive tracts from time-matched, naturally-mated queens (n = 6) served as controls. Every progestin-primed cat (n = 12) produced the desired response of morphologically-similar, fresh CL (regardless of eCG/hCG dose) by Day 2, whereas 41.7% of unprimed counterparts (n = 12) failed to ovulate or had variable-aged CL suggestive of prior spontaneous ovulation (P < 0.05). The ovarian response to 'low', but not 'high', eCG/hCG was improved (P < 0.05) in primed compared to unprimed cats, indicating increased sensitivity to gonadotropin in the progestin-primed ovary. Progestin priming prevented hyper-elevated fecal steroid metabolites and normalized CL progesterone capacity, but only when combined with 'low' eCG/hCG. However, priming failed to prevent ancillary CL formation, smaller CL mass, or abnormal luteal cell density, which were common to all eCG/hCG-treated cats. Thus, the domestic cat exposed to eCG/hCG produces CL with structural and functional aberrations. These anomalies can be partially mitigated by progestin priming, possibly due to a protective effect of progestin associated with enhanced ovarian sensitivity to gonadotropins.
    Biology of Reproduction 10/2012; · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Felid spermatozoa are sensitive to cryopreservation-induced damage, but functional losses can be mitigated by post-thaw swim-up or density gradient processing methods that selectively recover motile or structurally-normal spermatozoa, respectively. Despite the importance of sperm energy production to achieving fertilization, there is little knowledge about the influence of cryopreservation or post-thaw processing on felid sperm metabolism. We conducted a comparative study of domestic cat and cheetah sperm metabolism after cryopreservation and post-thaw processing. We hypothesized that freezing/thawing impairs sperm metabolism and that swim-up, but not density gradient centrifugation, recovers metabolically-normal spermatozoa. Ejaculates were cryopreserved, thawed, and processed by swim-up, Accudenz gradient centrifugation, or conventional washing (representing the 'control'). Sperm glucose and pyruvate uptake, lactate production, motility, and acrosomal integrity were assessed. Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was measured in cat spermatozoa. In both species, lactate production, motility, and acrosomal integrity were reduced in post-thaw, washed samples compared to freshly-collected ejaculates. Glucose uptake was minimal pre- and post-cryopreservation, whereas pyruvate uptake was similar between treatments due to high coefficients of variation. In the cat, swim-up, but not Accudenz processing, recovered spermatozoa with increased lactate production, pyruvate uptake, and motility compared to controls. Although confounded by differences in non-specific fluorescence among processing methods, MMP values within treatments were positively correlated to sperm motility and acrosomal integrity. Cheetah spermatozoa isolated by either selection method exhibited improved motility and/or acrosomal integrity, but remained metabolically compromised. Collectively, findings revealed a metabolically-robust subpopulation of cryopreserved cat, but not cheetah, spermatozoa, recovered by selecting for motility rather than morphology.
    Cryobiology 04/2012; 64(2):110-7. · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Compared with the normospermic domestic cat, sperm metabolic function is compromised in the teratospermic cat and cheetah, but the pathway(s) involved in this deficiency are unknown. Glycolysis is essential for sperm motility, yet it appears to function normally in spermatozoa of either species regardless of structural morphology. We conducted a comparative study to further understand the mechanisms of energy production in felid spermatozoa, with the hypothesis that oxidative phosphorylation is required for normal sperm function and is impaired in teratospermic ejaculates. Electroejaculates from both species were stained with MitoTracker to quantify mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) or were incubated to assess changes in sperm function (motility, acrosomal integrity, and lactate production) after mitochondrial inhibition with myxothiazol. Sperm midpiece dimensions also were quantified. Sperm mitochondrial fluorescence (directly proportional to MMP) was ~95% lower in the cheetah compared with the normospermic and teratospermic cat, despite the cheetah having a 10% longer midpiece. In both species, MMP was increased 5-fold in spermatozoa with retained cytoplasm compared with structurally normal cells. Inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation impaired sperm function in both species, but a 100-fold higher inhibitor concentration was required in the cat compared with the cheetah. Collectively, findings revealed that oxidative phosphorylation was required for sperm function in the domestic cat and cheetah. This pathway of energy production appeared markedly less active in the cheetah, indicating a species-specific vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction. The unexpected, cross-species linkage between retained cytoplasmic droplets and elevated MMP may reflect increased concentrations of metabolic enzymes or substrates in these structures.
    Biology of Reproduction 05/2011; 85(3):473-81. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) routinely lives for more than 12 yr in ex situ collections, females older than 8 yr reproduce infrequently. We tested the hypothesis that reproduction is compromised in older female cheetahs due to a combination of disrupted gonadal, oocyte, and uterine function/integrity. Specifically, we assessed 1) ovarian response to gonadotropins; 2) oocyte meiotic, fertilization, and developmental competence; and 3) uterine morphology in three age classes of cheetahs (young, 2-5 yr, n = 17; prime, 6-8 yr, n = 8; older, 9-15 yr, n = 9). Ovarian activity was stimulated with a combination of equine chorionic gonadotropin and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and fecal samples were collected for 45 days before gonadotropin treatment and for 30 days after oocyte recovery by laparoscopy. Twenty-six to thirty hours post-hCG, uterine morphology was examined by ultrasound, ovarian follicular size determined by laparoscopy, and aspirated oocytes assessed for nuclear status or inseminated in vitro. Although no influence of age on fecal hormone concentrations or gross uterine morphology was found (P > 0.05), older females produced fewer (P < 0.05) total antral follicles and oocytes compared to younger counterparts. Regardless of donor age, oocytes had equivalent (P > 0.05) nuclear status and ability to reach metaphase II and fertilize in vitro. A histological assessment of voucher specimens revealed an age-related influence on uterine tissue integrity, with more than 87% and more than 56% of older females experiencing endometrial hyperplasia and severe pathologies, respectively. Our collective findings reveal that lower reproductive success in older cheetahs appears to be minimally influenced by ovarian and gamete aging and subsequent dysfunction. Rather, ovaries from older females are responsive to gonadotropins, produce normative estradiol/progestogen concentrations, and develop follicles containing oocytes with the capacity to mature and be fertilized. A more likely cause of reduced fertility may be the high prevalence of uterine endometrial hyperplasia and related pathologies. The discovery that a significant proportion of oocytes from older females have developmental capacity in vitro suggests that in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer may be useful for "rescuing" the genome of older, nonreproductive cheetahs.
    Biology of Reproduction 05/2011; 85(2):243-53. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously reported a lack of glucose uptake in domestic cat and cheetah spermatozoa, despite observing that these cells produce lactate at rates that correlate positively with sperm function. To elucidate the role of glycolysis in felid sperm energy production, we conducted a comparative study in the domestic cat and cheetah, with the hypothesis that sperm motility and viability are maintained in both species in the absence of glycolytic metabolism and are fueled by endogenous substrates. Washed ejaculates were incubated in chemically defined medium in the presence/absence of glucose and pyruvate. A second set of ejaculates was exposed to a chemical inhibitor of either lactate dehydrogenase (sodium oxamate) or glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (alpha-chlorohydrin). Sperm function (motility and acrosomal integrity) and lactate production were assessed, and a subset of spermatozoa was assayed for intracellular glycogen. In both the cat and cheetah, sperm function was maintained without exogenous substrates and following lactate dehydrogenase inhibition. Lactate production occurred in the absence of exogenous hexoses, but only if pyruvate was present. Intracellular glycogen was not detected in spermatozoa from either species. Unexpectedly, glycolytic inhibition by alpha-chlorohydrin resulted in an immediate decline in sperm motility, particularly in the domestic cat. Collectively, our findings reveal an essential role of the glycolytic pathway in felid spermatozoa that is unrelated to hexose metabolism or lactate formation. Instead, glycolytic enzyme activity could be required for the metabolism of endogenous lipid-derived glycerol, with fatty acid oxidation providing the primary energy source in felid spermatozoa.
    Biology of Reproduction 02/2011; 84(6):1198-206. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The whooping crane is one of the most critically endangered species in North America. The species underwent a severe genetic bottleneck with only 16 individuals remaining in the wild as of 1942. Captive breeding began in 1966 and continues to produce chicks for release in order to establish new wild populations. However, captive birds experience poor reproduction with approximately 40% of eggs being infertile. Males have been known to reach sexual maturity at 5 years of age and continue to reproduce almost as long as the duration of their adult life (i.e. 40 years). Understanding factors affecting seminal quality may assist in identifying and correcting causes of suboptimal reproduction. Our objectives were to determine the influence of age and reproductive seasonality on seminal quality. We hypothesised that seminal quality variations among whooping cranes and ejaculates within a given individual over time were due to bird age and stage of breeding season. In 2010, twenty-nine whooping cranes of 5 age groups housed at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Laurel, MD, USA) were studied: ≤5 years (n=3); 6-10 years (n=7); 11-15 years (n=7); 16-20 years (n=4); >20 years old (n=8). Semen was collected using a manual manipulation technique at 3 stages of the breeding season: early (March, n=29) mid (April, n=24), and late (May, n=14). Samples were evaluated for seminal volume and sperm concentration, motility, and morphology, with data evaluated by analysis of variance. Bird age had no influence on seminal quality, whereas stage of breeding season affected seminal volume and the proportion of sperm with normal morphology (95% confidence interval). Specifically, samples collected during Mid breeding season had the highest volume (mean±SEM; early: 42.0±8.0μL; mid: 66.0±15.2μL; late: 39.7±17.8μL), but lowest proportions of structurally normal sperm (early: 78.4±3.7%: mid: 61.5±3.2%; late: 69.7±3.4%). There was a significant difference (P=0.06) in sperm concentration among stages of the breeding season (early: 66.3±18.8×10(6) spermmL(-1); mid: 179.2±46.2×10(6) spermmL(-1); late: 91.4±47.8×10(6) spermmL(-1)). Sperm motility was unaffected by season (early: 36.4±3.5%; mid: 45.9±4.1%; late: 48.0±4.9%). In summary, there is a peak in seminal quality that corresponds with higher volume and more sperm during the mid stage of the season, although with higher instances of structural abnormalities. Despite the small founder base for this species, males in this population produce sperm with no variation in seminal quality across a wide variation in age.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 01/2011; 23(1):214. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cheetahs and certain other felids consistently ejaculate high proportions (≥ 60%) of malformed spermatozoa, a condition known as teratospermia, which is prevalent in humans. Even seemingly normal spermatozoa from domestic cat teratospermic ejaculates have reduced fertilizing capacity. To understand the role of sperm metabolism in this phenomenon, we conducted a comparative study in the normospermic domestic cat versus the teratospermic cat and cheetah with the general hypothesis that sperm metabolic function is impaired in males producing predominantly pleiomorphic spermatozoa. Washed ejaculates were incubated in chemically defined medium containing glucose and pyruvate. Uptake of glucose and pyruvate and production of lactate were assessed using enzyme-linked fluorescence assays. Spermatozoa from domestic cats and cheetahs exhibited similar metabolic profiles, with minimal glucose metabolism and approximately equimolar rates of pyruvate uptake and lactate production. Compared to normospermic counterparts, pyruvate and lactate metabolism were reduced in teratospermic cat and cheetah ejaculates, even when controlling for sperm motility. Rates of pyruvate and lactate (but not glucose) metabolism were correlated positively with sperm motility, acrosomal integrity, and normal morphology. Collectively, our findings reveal that pyruvate uptake and lactate production are reliable, quantitative indicators of sperm quality in these two felid species and that metabolic function is impaired in teratospermic ejaculates. Furthermore, patterns of substrate utilization are conserved between these species, including the unexpected lack of exogenous glucose metabolism. Because glycolysis is required to support sperm motility and capacitation in certain other mammals (including dogs), the activity of this pathway in felid spermatozoa is a target for future investigation.
    Biology of Reproduction 11/2010; 83(5):833-41. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge about reproduction is critical for predicting the viability of wildlife populations in nature and for managing breeding programmes in captivity. Intensive species-based studies are the priority, because reproductive mechanisms are extraordinarily diverse, even within the same taxonomic family. Carnivores deserve more attention as such species are highly vulnerable to environmental change and human persecution. The present review provides contemporary illustrations of how reproductive science is contributing to understand unique reproductive mechanisms that are both of fundamental and applied interest. In the case of the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) free-living in South Africa, non-invasive faecal corticosteroid assessments have yielded new insights about the impact of animal relocation and reintroduction on adaptive responses, reproductive fitness and survival. For the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), advances have been made in characterizing and comparing reproductive traits in free-ranging vs captive individuals. For the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), recent studies have focused on the cryosensitivity of sperm and the ability to develop a field-friendly sperm cryo-method. The by-product has been a large-scale frozen repository of sperm from wild-caught cheetahs useful for infusing new genes into ex situ populations. Finally, rigorous, multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional reproductive studies of the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), including the use of artificial insemination, have contributed to the remarkable recovery and restoration of this species, once on the brink of extinction. In summary, advances in reproductive science are not necessarily related to 'assisted breeding'. However, understanding the unique ways of carnivore reproduction greatly contributes to species management and conservation.
    Reproduction in Domestic Animals 07/2009; 44 Suppl 2:47-52. · 1.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sperm cryopreservation, in combination with assisted reproductive techniques, is a valuable tool for the genetic management of endangered felids. However, the acrosome of the cheetah spermatozoon is especially sensitive to cryopreservation, with approximately 40% of spermatozoa experiencing acrosomal damage immediately after thawing and then another approximately 15% loss during the next 4 hours in vitro. Additionally, thawing causes a reduction in sperm motility by approximately 20% with another decrease of approximately 12% during subsequent incubation in vitro. We hypothesized that slow removal of glycerol from cryopreserved cheetah spermatozoa using an Accudenz gradient would improve acrosomal integrity, sperm motility longevity, and structural morphology. Accudenz was compared with traditional cheetah sperm processing methods for glycerol removal that involves washing, multistep resuspension, and swim-up processing. Electroejaculates (n = 21 total from 8 males) were washed in Ham F10 medium, and sperm pellets were resuspended in TEST-yolk buffer with 0% glycerol. Samples were cryopreserved in straws in 4% final glycerol, thawed, and assessed for percent intact acrosomes (% IA), percent motility (% M), and forward progressive status (FPS; scale, 0-5). Sperm motility index (SMI) was calculated as (% M + [FPS x 20]) / 2. In study 1, glycerol removal by centrifugation through an Accudenz gradient (4%, 10%) was compared with traditional sperm washing (control) and multistep resuspension protocols. At each time after centrifugation (hourly for 4 hours), % IA was improved (P < .05) for Accudenz (range, 36%-39%) compared with control (30%-33%) and multistep (29%-33%) treatments. In study 2, a modified Accudenz protocol was compared with traditional washing and was found to improve (P < .05) SMI (range, 52-64) compared with controls (range, 41-52) at each time postthaw after centrifugation. In study 3, swim-up processed sperm were compared with those treated by centrifugation through Accudenz and traditional sperm washing for improving sperm morphology. The percentage of structurally-normal sperm recovered postthawing increased (P < .05) for both the Accudenz (38%) and swim-up (33%) treatments compared with controls (21%). Percent IA and SMI also were improved (P < .05) for Accudenz (range, 39%-47% and 46-59, respectively) compared with controls (range, 26%-33% and 40-53, respectively). Results indicate that using Accudenz for glycerol removal from cryopreserved cheetah sperm mitigates the significant loss in sperm quality that occurs after freeze-thawing. This alleviation of cellular damage resulting from cryopreservation contributes to a more than 10% improvement in overall sperm motility and, more importantly, allows retention of 40% or more of sperm with intact acrosomes.
    Journal of Andrology 12/2008; 30(3):298-308. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The science of cryobiology is essential to the effective, practical use of semen for assisted breeding to help manage small populations of rare wildlife species. In this review, we describe challenges associated with cryopreserving gametes from wild fauna. Based on more than 25 years of experience across a diversity of mammals, it appears that the primary driving force dictating cryo-survival of a spermatozoon is its initial pre-freeze quality and morphology, especially having a morphologically normal, intact acrosome. This assertion is supported through extensive studies of three animal groups that routinely ejaculate semen containing (1) normal sperm/acrosomal quality (examples, Eld's deer, Cervus eldi and giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca), (2) normal acrosomal quality, but from teratospermic donors (>70% pleiomorphic sperm; cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus and black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes) and (3) abnormal acrosomal quality and general teratospermia (clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa). Data revealed that species producing high quality sperm with > 70% normal, intact acrosomes were best able to survive cryopreservation (-80% intact acrosomes post-thaw). Species that were teratospermic, but with high proportions of intact acrosomes (72 to 88%) in ejaculates varied significantly (4 to 55% intact acrosomes post-thaw) in sperm survival to freeze-thawing. Spermatozoa from the clouded leopard (that was both teratospermic while producing only 11% normal acrosomes in fresh semen) failed to survive cryopreservation despite using an array of conventional and unconventional freezing approaches. These observations (combined with zona penetration assays and artificial insemination results) suggest that proportions of malformed sperm and especially initial structural integrity of the acrosome are more important predictors of sperm survivability post-thaw than initial sperm motility scores.
    Society of Reproduction and Fertility supplement 02/2007; 65:433-46.
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    ABSTRACT: The objective was to examine the influence of animal age, season and captivity status on seminal quality in wild-born cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in Namibia, Africa. Animals were divided into three age categories: juvenile (14-24 months; n = 16 males, 23 ejaculates); adult (25-120 months; n = 76 males, 172 ejaculates); and aged (>120 months; n = 5 males, 5 ejaculates). Seasons were categorised into hot-wet (January-April), cold-dry (May-August) and hot-dry (September-December). A comparison between freshly wild-caught (n = 29 males, 41 ejaculates) and captive-held cheetahs (n = 68 males, 159 ejaculates) was also conducted. Raw ejaculates contained 69.0 +/- 1.1% motile spermatozoa (mean +/- s.e.m.) with 73.6 +/- 1.5% of these cells containing an intact acrosome. Overall, 18.4 +/- 0.9% of spermatozoa were morphologically normal, with midpiece anomalies being the most prevalent (approximately 39%) defect. Juvenile cheetahs produced ejaculates with poorer sperm motility, forward progressive status, lower seminal volume and fewer total motile spermatozoa than adult and aged animals. Spermatogenesis continued unabated throughout the year and was minimally influenced by season. Proportions of sperm malformations were also not affected by season. Ejaculates from captive cheetahs had increased volume and intact acrosomes, but lower sperm density than wild-caught counterparts. In summary, Namibian cheetahs produce an extraordinarily high proportion of pleiomorphic spermatozoa regardless of age, season or living (captive versus free-ranging) status. Young males less than 2 years of age produce poorer ejaculate quality than adult and aged males. Because (1) all study animals were wild born and (2) there was little difference between freshly caught males and those maintained in captivity for protracted periods, our results affirm that teratospermia in the cheetah is mostly genetically derived. It also appears that an ex situ environment for the Namibian cheetah can ensure sperm quality comparable with that for free-living males.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 01/2007; 19(2):370-82. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is an endangered species that is difficult to breed in captivity. Species management could benefit from the use of artificial insemination (AI) with frozen-thawed spermatozoa, but there have been no detailed studies of sperm cryosensitivity. The purposes of this study were to: (1) re-characterize seminal characteristics in the clouded leopard 20 years after the first descriptive studies Wildt et al., [Wildt DE, Howard JG, Hall LL, Bush M. Reproductive physiology of the clouded leopard. I. Electroejaculates contain high proportions of pleiomorphic spermatozoa throughout the year. Biol Reprod 1986; 34: 937-947]; and (2) conduct a comparative cryopreservation study on the feasibility of sperm from this species surviving a freeze-thawing stress. Ejaculates were collected from five adult males and subjected to standard analysis, followed by a two-step straw freezing protocol that evaluated the impact of thawing, dilution, centrifugation and in vitro culture (through 4 h) on sperm motility and acrosomal integrity. Additionally, we assessed the impact of both a traditional permeating cryoprotectant (glycerol at a final dilution of 4%) and an unconventional nonpermeating trisaccharide; raffinose (R) at a final dilution of 4% or 8%, with or without 4% glycerol on sperm cryosurvival. The clouded leopard produced an extremely poor quality ejaculate; although approximately 70% of fresh sperm were motile, >80% were malformed. Phase contrast microscopy revealed that 40% of all sperm had abnormal acrosomes, but Coomassie blue staining indicated that acrosomal abnormalities existed in almost 70% of spermatozoa. Upon freeze-thawing, sperm motility declined markedly (P < 0.05) by an average of 40%, regardless of diluent used. Interestingly, raffinose was as effective as glycerol in protecting both sperm motility and acrosomal integrity. Although no acrosomal damage was seen immediately after thawing, < 6% morphologically normal intact acrosomes were present by the last measured time point. In conclusion, the clouded leopard is a rare felid that (at least in North American zoos) is producing extraordinarily poor quality ejaculates. There are so many sperm with unexplained deranged acrosomes that it will be particularly challenging to use traditional AI with thawed sperm as an adjunct management tool.
    Theriogenology 11/2006; 66(6-7):1790-6. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sperm cryopreservation is a valuable tool for the genetic management of ex situ populations. This study was conducted to assess: (1) semen characteristics of wild-born cheetahs; and (2) the impact of three types of glycerol influence (duration of exposure, temperature, and method of addition) on sperm cryosensitivity. To evaluate the impact of duration of glycerol exposure, spermatozoa were incubated in Test Yolk Buffer (TYB) with 4% glycerol at ambient temperature (approximately 22 degrees C) for 15 vs. 60 min before cryopreservation. To evaluate the influence of temperature and method of glycerol addition, spermatozoa were resuspended at ambient temperature either in TYB with 0% glycerol followed by addition of 8% glycerol (1:1 v/v; at ambient temperature vs. 5 degrees C) or directly in TYB with 4% glycerol. All samples were cryopreserved in straws over liquid nitrogen vapor and evaluated for sperm motility and acrosomal integrity after thawing. Semen samples (n = 23; n = 13 males) contained a high proportion (78%) of pleiomorphic spermatozoa. Ejaculates also contained a high proportion of acrosome-intact (86%) and motile spermatozoa (78%). Immediately after thawing, a significant proportion of spermatozoa retained intact acrosomes (range, 48-67%) and motility (range, 40-49%). After thawing, incubation in glycerol for 60 min at ambient temperature before freezing decreased (p < 0.05) sperm motility and acrosomal integrity at one time-point each (pre-centrifugation and post-centrifugation, respectively). However, method or temperature of glycerol addition had no (p > 0.05) impact on sperm cryosurvival. In summary, (1) wild-born cheetahs produce high proportions of pleiomorphic spermatozoa but with a high proportion of intact acrosomes; and (2) resuspension in 4% glycerol, followed by exposure for up to 60 min at ambient temperature, had minimal effect on sperm motility and acrosomal integrity after cryopreservation. Results indicate the feasibility of cryopreserving cheetah spermatozoa under field conditions, providing a user-friendly method to capture and store gametes to enhance genetic management.
    Cryobiology 05/2006; 52(2):169-81. · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wild cheetahs are threatened with extinction, and ex situ populations are not self-sustaining due to poor reproductive efficiency. Sperm cryo-preservation is a valuable tool for genetic management; however, increased knowledge of ejaculate traits is essential to improve cryopreservation protocols. The objective of this study was to characterize ejaculate traits of wild-born cheetahs in Namibia, Africa. Specifically, the influences of animal age, season and captive status on electroejaculate volume, sperm concentration, motility, forward progressive status (FPS scale 0-5, 5 = best), morphology, and acrosomal integrity were evaluated. Animal age was divided into categories: juvenile (14-24 mo; n = 16 males, 23 ejaculates), adult (25-120 mo; n = 76 males, 175 ejaculates), and aged (over 120 mo; n = 5 males, 5 ejaculates). Namibian seasons were divided into hot-wet (Jan-Apr), cold-dry (May-Aug) and hot-dry (Sep-Dec). Cheetahs were considered wild-caught (n = 29 males; 44 ejaculates) if trapped on farmland d30 days before semen collection. Raw ejaculates contained 69.0 ± 1.1% motile sperm (mean ± SEM) and 73.6 ± 1.5% sperm with intact acrosomes. Overall, 18.4 ± 0.9% of sperm were morphologically normal, with midpiece abnormalities being the most prevalent defects (?39%). To determine treatment differences, data were analyzed by General Linear Model procedures and means were separated with Duncan's multiple-range test. Juvenile cheetahs produced ejaculates with reduced (P < 0.05) sperm motility (56.7 ± 3.3%) and FPS (2.9 ± 0.1) compared to adult (69.8 ± 1.4% and 3.4 ± 0.1, respectively) and aged (78.9 ± 6.7% and 3.7 ± 0.3, respectively) animals. Ejaculates from juvenile animals also had reduced (P < 0.05) volume (0.69 ± 0.3 mL) and fewer (P < 0.05) total motile sperm (7.1 ± 9.3 × 106) compared to adult (2.2 ± 0.1 mL and 42.3 ± 4.1 × 106) and aged (2.3 ± 0.6 mL and 23.5 ± 20.0 × 106, respectively) males. For all ejaculates combined, seminal quality was poorest during the hot-dry season with lower (P < 0.05) sperm motility and intact acrosomes as well as an increased (P < 0.05) percent of sperm with head abnormalities. Ejaculates from captive cheetahs (n = 68 males, 159 ejaculates) had increased (P < 0.05) volume (2.0 ± 0.2 mL) and intact acrosomes (80.1 ± 3.6%), but lower (P < 0.05) sperm density (14.3 ± 3.9 × 106/mL) than wild-caught animals (1.5 ± 0.3 mL, 71.9 ± 4.6%, and 24.1 ± 5.1 × 106/mL, respectively). These are the first large-scale data acquired to examine the reproductive biology of male cheetahs in Namibia, including those recently captured from the wild. Results reveal that this species demonstrates seasonal and age-based variations in ejaculate quality, and that all individuals (including those recently derived from the wild) produce unusually high proportions of pleiomorphic spermatozoa. These data are being used to select the ideal donor age and season during which spermatozoa should be collected for addition to a genome resource bank, thereby enhancing effective genetic management for cheetahs propagated ex situ.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development - REPROD FERT DEVELOP. 01/2006; 18(2).

Publication Stats

89 Citations
39.00 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2012
    • Conservation Biology Institute
      Corvallis, Oregon, United States
  • 2006–2008
    • Smithsonian Institution
      • Department of Reproductive Sciences
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States