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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 27(3)

Subpopulation pattern of eel spermatozoa is affected by post-activation time, hormonal treatment and the thermal regimen

V. Gallego A, M. C. Vílchez A, D. S. Peñaranda A, L. Pérez A, M. P. Herráez B, J. F. Asturiano A and F. Martínez-Pastor B C

A Grupo de Acuicultura y Biodiversidad, Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Animal, Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n. 46022, Valencia, Spain.
B Institute for Cattle Development and Animal Health Institute for Cattle Development and Animal Health (INDEGSAL) and Molecular Biology, University of León, 24071 León, Spain.
C Corresponding author. Email: felipe.martinez@unileon.es

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 27(3) 529-543 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RD13198
Submitted: 23 June 2013  Accepted: 8 January 2014   Published: 4 March 2014


 
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Abstract

There has been a marked reduction in natural stocks of eels (genus Anguilla) over the past 60 years, and the culture of eels is still based on the capture of very large quantities of juveniles. It is necessary to close the life cycle in captivity in order to ease the pressure on wild populations. The aims of the present study were to evaluate sperm subpopulations (through cluster analysis of computer-aided sperm analysis data) in the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and to assess the effects of motility acquisition time after activation (i.e. at 30, 60 and 90 s), the thermal regimen (i.e. 10°C (T10) or 15°C (T15) and up to 20°C, or constant at 20°C (T20)) and hormonal treatments (i.e. human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), recombinant (r) hCG or pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG)) on these subpopulations. In all cases, we obtained three subpopulations of spermatozoa: low velocity and linear (S1); high velocity with low linearity (S2); and high velocity and linear (S3; considered high quality). Total motility and S1 were affected by acquisition time; thus, 30 s is recommended as the standard time for motility acquisition. When eels were kept at 20°C (T20), motility data fitted quadratic models, with the highest motility and proportion of S3 between Weeks 8 and 12 after the first injection. Lower temperatures (T10, T15) delayed spermiation and the obtaining of high-quality spermatozoa (S3), but did not seem to alter the spermiation process (similar subpopulation pattern). Conversely, the hormonal treatments altered both the dynamics of the subpopulation pattern and the onset of spermiation (with PMSG delaying it). Total motility and the yield of S3 with the widely used hCG treatment varied throughout the spermiation period. However, using rhCG allowed us to obtain high-quality and constant motility for most of the study (Weeks 7–20), and the S3 yield was also higher overall (61.8 ± 1.3%; mean ± s.e.m.) and more stable over time than the other hormonal treatments (averaging 53.0 ± 1.4%). Using T20 and rhCG would be more economical and practical, allowing us to obtain a higher number of S3 spermatozoa over an extended time.

Additional keywords: computer-aided sperm analysis, European eel, motility activation.


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