Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Aquaporin 11 is related to cryotolerance and fertilising ability of frozen–thawed bull spermatozoa

Roser Morató A E , Noelia Prieto-Martínez A , Rodrigo Muiño B , Carlos O. Hidalgo C , Joan E. Rodríguez-Gil D , Sergi Bonet A and Marc Yeste A E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Biology, Institute of Food and Agricultural Technology, University of Girona, C/Maria Aurèlia Campany 69, Campus Montilivi, E-17071 Girona, Spain.

B Department of Animal Pathology, Avda. Carballo Calero s/n, University of Santiago de Compostela, E-15705 Lugo, Spain.

C Department of Animal Selection and Reproduction, The Regional Agri-Food Research and Development Service of Asturias (SERIDA), Camino de Rioseco 1225, La Olla, Deva, E-33394 Gijón, Spain.

D Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Building V, Campus Bellaterra s/n, E-08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain.

E Corresponding authors. Email: rmoratomolet@gmail.com; marc.yeste@udg.edu

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD17340
Submitted: 28 August 2017  Accepted: 20 December 2017   Published online: 25 January 2018

Abstract

Aquaporins (AQPs) are channel proteins involved in the transport of water and solutes across biological membranes. In the present study we identified and localised aquaporin 11 (AQP11) in bull spermatozoa and investigated the relationship between the relative AQP11 content, sperm cryotolerance and the fertilising ability of frozen–thawed semen. Bull ejaculates were classified into two groups of good and poor freezability and assessed through immunofluorescence and immunoblotting analyses before and after cryopreservation. AQP11 was localised throughout the entire tail and along the sperm head. These findings were confirmed through immunoblotting, which showed a specific band of approximately 50 kDa corresponding to AQP11. The relative amount of AQP11 was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in both fresh and frozen–thawed spermatozoa from bull ejaculates with good freezability compared with those with poorer freezability. In addition, in vitro oocyte penetration rates and non-return rates 56 days after AI were correlated with the relative AQP11 content in fresh spermatozoa. In conclusion, AQP11 is present in the head and tail of bull spermatozoa and its relative amount in fresh and frozen–thawed spermatozoa is related to the resilience of the spermatozoa to withstand cryopreservation and the fertilising ability of frozen–thawed spermatozoa. Further research is needed to elucidate the actual role of sperm AQP11 in bovine fertility.

Additional keywords: AI, AQP11, cryopreservation, IVF.


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