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


J. Gadea, S. Martínez-Miró, G. Decuadro-Hansen and C. Matás

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 18(2) 154 - 154
Published: 14 December 2005


Separation of sperm from seminal plasma is required in most semen freezing procedures. Semen is typically subjected to centrifugation to concentrate sperm into a pellet and allow removal of the seminal plasma prior to dilution in freezing extender. Centrifugation is a relatively effective method to recover sperm, however, the process also causes considerable sperm damage. The use of a dense, inert, and isotonic solution as a cushion in the bottom of the centrifuge tube allows a greater centrifugation speed to be applied and results in greater sperm recovery. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effects of this cushioned centrifugation technique on in vitro sperm viability and functionality. Sperm-rich fractions from 16 fertile boars were diluted and cooled to 15°C; then subsamples were centrifuged by one of two different techniques. A standard method (SM), 800 g for 10 min in 50-mL tubes (Westendorf et al. 1975 Dtsch. Tierärztl. Wschr. 82, 261-267) and a cushioned method (CM), 1000 g for 20 min using 45 mL of diluted semen on 5 mL of an isotonic iodixanol solution (60% w/v gradient) were performed. Sperm samples were stained with merocyanine 540 (M540) and Yo-Pro 1 (Harrison et al. 1996 Mol. Rep. Dev. 45, 378-391) to detect changes in lipid packing disorder of the plasma membrane. Another set of sperm samples was incubated in the presence of (0.7 ¼M) 22,72-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (Gadea et al. 2005 J. Androl. 26, 396-404) to estimate production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). A final set of sperm samples was stained with peanut aggultinin-fluorscein isothiocyanate (PNA-FITC) and propidium iodide to evaluate the acrosome reaction. All of these parameters were evaluated by flow cytometry before and after centrifugation. ANOVA analysis revealed that centrifugation altered lipid packing disorder and viability. Raw semen (RS) had a larger number of viable low lipid disorder sperm than centrifuged semen (RS = 86.9a vs. SM = 81.64b vs. CM = 80.6b, P < 0.01) and a decreased number of dead sperm cells (RS = 9.5a vs. SM = 15.0b vs. CM = 16.3b, P < 0.01). However, the cushioned and standard centrifugation methods yielded similar results for all the parameters measured. No significant differences were found for generation of ROS or in the number of sperm exhibiting the acrosome reaction. In conclusion, compared to the standard centrifugation method, this simple cushioned modification is a more efficient means of processing boar semen for freezing because significantly less sample losses are detected; also, it provides similar levels of sperm viability and functionality, and consequently a higher number of doses per ejaculation can be produced.

© CSIRO 2005

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