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Research article2007Peer reviewed

Post-thaw viability of bull AI-doses with low-sperm numbers

Ballester J, Johannisson A, Saravia F, Haard M, Gustafsson H, Bajramovic D, Rodriguez-Martinez H


Use of AI-doses containing low-sperm numbers are increasingly been used to optimise use of elite bulls as well as to accommodate an eventual wider application of sex-sorted semen. Since spermatozoa might, however, suffer from high extension rates, thus compromising fertility, this study evaluated the post-thaw sperm quality of semen from commercial progeny-tested, high-ranked AI-sires whose semen was within acceptable limits of normality, frozen in a split-design to 15 (control, 15M) or 2 x 106 total spermatozoa (treatment, 2M) per straw. Assessment post-thaw included computer-evaluated sperm motility (CASA), membrane integrity (SYBR-14/PI), membrane stability (Annexin-V/Pl), acrosome integrity (Carboxy-SNARF-1/PI/ FITC-PSA), and chromatin integrity (AO of in situ acid-induced DNA denaturation). High extension did not affect the proportions of linearly motile spermatozoa, of membrane integrity or stability nor chromatin integrity, immediately post-thaw. However, high extension clearly affected linear sperm motility following incubation at 38 degrees C for 30 min, sperm viability when assessed by SNARF and, particularly, acrosome integrity of the otherwise viable spermatozoa. Individual sire variation was evident. Fertility was preliminarily evaluated for one of the less affected bulls in a blind field trial. A total of 109 dairy cows were randomly inseminated with 15M or 2M-straws without differences in pregnancy rate between them (47% versus 43%). This similarity in fertility rates, confirmed the in vitro methods used were appropriate for identifying cryosurvival and further suggested the site of sperm deposition was not crucial for the fertility of low-sperm AI-numbers for this particular sire. However, the inter-bull variation seen calls for caution when cryopreserving low concentrations of bull spermatozoa with conventional freezing protocols. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

Published in

2007, Volume: 68, number: 6, pages: 934-943