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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Effects of boar variability on comet-detected sperm-DNA damage following cryopreservation

L. Fraser A C , Ł. Zasiadczyk A and C. S. Pareek B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Animal Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowskiego Street 5, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland.

B Functional Genomics in Biological and Biomedical Research, Centre for Modern Interdisciplinary Technologies, Nicolaus Copernicus University, 87-100 Torun, Poland.

C Corresponding author. Email: fraser@uwm.edu.pl

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16274
Submitted: 29 April 2016  Accepted: 21 July 2016   Published online: 16 November 2016

Abstract

Assessment of sperm-DNA integrity is a crucial issue in male fertility. In the present study, parameters derived from the image analysis of comets after single-cell gel electrophoresis were used to analyse the types of DNA damage of frozen–thawed boar spermatozoa. Semen, frozen in a cryoprotectant-free extender or in cryoprotectant-based extenders, was analysed for DNA fragmentation and with the following comet tail measures: percentage DNA in comet tail, comet tail length and olive tail moment. The percentages of sperm DNA damage in the comet tails were classified as Type 0 (no DNA damage), Type I (very low DNA damage), Type II (light DNA damage), Type III (medium DNA damage) and Type IV (heavy DNA damage). Sperm motility characteristics and membrane integrity were assessed in the pre-freeze and frozen–thawed semen samples. Assessment of sperm DNA fragmentation and comet tail measures showed marked inter-boar variability following cryopreservation. However, consistent differences among the boars, with respect to cryo-induced sperm DNA damage, were detected by the comet tail length and olive tail moment. Besides Type IV, all types of DNA damage were detected in the cryoprotectant-based extenders. It was found that the frequency of Type II and Type III of DNA damage of frozen–thawed spermatozoa was significantly greater in the cryoprotectant-based and cryoprotectant-free extenders respectively. Deterioration in the quality of the sperm DNA integrity was concomitant with a marked decline in sperm motility characteristics, reduced plasma membrane integrity and higher lipid peroxidation and aspartate aminotransferase activity after cryopreservation. It can be suggested that the comet-assay parameters, coupled with routine laboratory tests, are useful to improve the sperm evaluations of post-thaw quality of semen from individual boars and would offer more comprehensive information for a better understanding of the degree of cryo-induced sperm-DNA damage.

Additional keywords: cryopreservation, DNA fragmentation, neutral comet assay.


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