The Effect of Sperm Concentration and Storage Vessel on Quercetin-Supplemented Rabbit Semen During Chilled Storage

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ContentsExtending the shelf life of chilled rabbit spermatozoa is vital for the expansion of the farmed rabbit industry. This study evaluated the relationship between sperm concentration and packaging on in vitro quality of chilled rabbit semen over 96 h. Semen was collected from adult bucks (n = 4) and pooled at 37°C following evaluation. Pooled ejaculates were diluted with a Tris-based extender supplemented with 100 μM quercetin to a concentration of 15, 30 or 60 × 106 spermatozoa/ml, packaged into plastic tubes or 0.5-ml straws and stored at 15°C. Sperm quality was assessed by computer-assisted sperm Analysis [total motility (tMOT)] and flow cytometry [viability, acrosome integrity, H2O2 production, plasma membrane disorder, apoptosis and DNA fragmentation index (DFI)] at 0, 48, 72 and 96 h. From 48 h, concentrations of 30 and 60 × 106 spermatozoa/ml reported the highest tMOT, irrespective of storage vessel (p < 0.05). Storage in straws reduced oxidative stress and improved plasma membrane stability. The %DFI, mean DFI and SD-DFI were increased in spermatozoa stored in tubes compared with straws (p < 0.05). Although the use of low sperm concentrations in artificial insemination doses would facilitate greater dispersion of genetically superior rabbit bucks, dilution to 15 × 106 spermatozoa/ml had a detrimental impact on motility. As such, chilled storage at 30 × 106 spermatozoa/ml may provide a suitable balance between motility and H2O2 production to best maintain overall sperm function and should be evaluated in a large-scale AI trial.

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