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Tolerance of brown bear spermatozoa to conditions of pre-freezing cooling rate and equilibration time

AutorLópez-Urueña, Elena; Martínez-Rodríguez, Carmen; Anel-López, Luis; Paz, Paulino de; Anel, Luis
Palabras claveSperm cryopreservation
Equilibration time
Direct freezing
Cooling rates
Brown bear
Fecha de publicación2014
CitaciónTheriogenology 81(9): 1229-1238 (2014)
ResumenSpecific protocols for the cryopreservation of endangered Cantabrian brown bear spermatozoa are critical to create a genetic resource bank. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of cooling rates and equilibration time before freezing on post-thawed brown bear spermatozoa quality. Electroejaculates from 11 mature bears were extended to 100 × 106 spermatozoa/mL in a TES-Tris-Fructose-based extender, cryopreserved following performance of the respective cooling/equilibration protocol each sample was assigned to, and stored at -196 °C for further assessment. Before freezing, after thawing, and after 1 hour's incubation post-thawing at 37 °C (thermal stress test), the quality of the samples was assessed for motility by computer-assisted semen analysis, and for viability (SYBR-14/propidium iodide), acrosomal status (peanut agglutinin-fluorescein isothiocyanate /propidium iodide), and sperm chromatin stability (SCSA) by flow cytometry. In experiment 1, three cooling rates (0.25 °C/min, 1 °C/min, and 4 °C/min) to 5 °C were assessed. After thawing, total motility (%TM) was higher and percentage of damaged acrosomes (%dACR) was lower (P < 0.05) for 0.25 °C/min than for 4 °C/min. The thermal stress test data indicated equally poor quality (P < 0.05) for the 4 °C/min cooled samples in viability (%VIAB), %dACR, %TM, and progressive motility (%PM). In experiment 2, the effect of a pre-freezing equilibration period at 5 °C for 1 hour (cooling at 0.25 °C/min) was evaluated. Samples kept at 5 °C for 1 hour showed higher (P < 0.05) values than the nonequilibrated ones for both thawing (%dACR) and thermal stress test (%VIAB, %TM, and %PM). In experiment 3, samples stored without cooling and equilibration (direct freezing) were compared with the samples cooled at 0.25 °C/min and equilibrated for 1 hour (control freezing). Using thermal stress test, we observed that direct freezing causes damage in viability, acrosomal status, and motility of spermatozoa compared with the control group (P < 0.05). In conclusion, our results suggest that slow cooling rates to 5 °C and at least 1 hour equilibration time are necessary for the effective cryopreservation of brown bear sperm.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2014.02.004
issn: 0093-691X
e-issn: 1879-3231
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