Effects of Sperm Concentration and Straw Volume on Motion Characteristics and Plasma, Acrosomal, and Mitochondrial Membranes of Equine Cryopreserved Spermatozoa

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The advantages of using cryopreserved semen in equine reproduction are well known. During cryopreservation, spermatozoa undergo many changes that lead to a decrease in fertility. There is no agreement on the ideal sperm dose and concentration to maximize fertility rates. Thus, the objectives of this experiment were to evaluate sperm motion by computer-assisted analysis (CASA), sperm membrane integrity and function with fluorescence probes of cryopreserved sperm at three concentrations: 100 (C100), 200 (C200) and 400 × 106 sperm/mL (C400), and two straw volumes (0.50 and 0.25 mL). There was no interaction between sperm concentration and storage volume (P > .05). Sperm motion characteristics were influenced by concentration (C100 > C200 > C400; P < .05). Curvilinear velocity (VCL) in 0.25-mL straws had higher average values (P < .05). Membrane integrity and function were not changed by straw volume (P > .05). However, sperm concentration changed the percentage of cells with intact plasma membrane (C100 > C200 > C400; P < .05) and the percentage of cells with high mitochondrial membrane potential (C100 = C200; P > .05 and C400 < C100 and C200; P < .05). According to this experiment, the best freezing method was that involving 100 × 106 sperm/mL, regardless of straw volume.

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