Seminal Plasma Characteristics and Expression of ATP-binding Cassette Transporter A1 (ABCA1) in Canine Spermatozoa from Ejaculates with Good and Bad Freezability

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ContentsThe composition of seminal plasma and the localization of the ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) in spermatozoa from good and bad freezers were compared to frozen–thawed spermatozoa from the same dog. Ejaculates were obtained from 31 stud dogs, and the sperm-rich fraction (SRF) was kept for analysis. One aliquot was used for the analysis of concentration, progressive motility (P; CASA), viability (V; CASA) and leucocyte count, and the analysis was performed by flow cytometry (FITC-PNA/PI), SCSA and HOST. In seminal plasma, concentration of albumin, cholesterol, calcium, inorganic phosphate, sodium, potassium, zinc and copper was measured. Semen smears were prepared and evaluated for the expression of ABCA1. The remainder of each ejaculate was frozen. After thawing, the quality assessment was repeated and further smears were prepared. According to post-thaw semen quality, dogs were assigned to good freezers (n = 20) or bad freezers (n = 11), the latter were defined as < 50% progressive motility and/or > 40% morphologically abnormal sperm and/or < 50% viability. Bad freezers were older than good freezers (5.3 vs 3.4 years, p < 0.05). In bad freezers, the percentage of sperm with ABCA1 signal in the acrosome was lower (26.3% vs 35.7%, p < 0.01) and the percentage of sperm with complete loss of ABCA1 signal higher (46.7% vs 30%, p < 0.01); the percentage of dead spermatozoa was higher (36.1% vs 25.5%, p < 0.05), and the concentration of cholesterol and sodium in seminal plasma was lower than in good freezers (p < 0.05). We conclude that in thawed bad freezer sperm, an increase in acrosome damages coincided with an increased loss of cholesterol transporters and cell death, and a lower cholesterol concentration in seminal plasma. Follow-up studies revealed whether a relation exists between these findings.

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