The objective was to evaluate the suitability of using natural or lyophilized low density lipoproteins (LDL), in lieu of whole egg yolk, in extenders for cryopreserving ram semen. Once extragonadal sperm reserves were depleted in 10 fertile Santa Inês cross rams, two ejaculates per ram were collected for cryopreservation. Nine extenders were used: Tris-16% egg yolk extender with 5% glycerol as a control (T1), and substitution of whole egg yolk with 8, 12, 16 or 20% natural LDL (T2-T5, respectively), or with 8, 12, 16, or 20% lyophilized LDL (T6-T9). Semen was diluted to 100 × 10(6) sperm/mL, packaged into 0.25 mL straws, cooled, held at 5 °C for 3 h, and then frozen in liquid nitrogen vapor. Immediately after thawing (37 °C for 30 s), sperm total and progressive motility, and kinetic parameters were analyzed with computer assisted semen analysis (CASA). Percentage of sperm with plasma membrane functional integrity was assessed by the hypoosmotic swelling test (HOST), sperm membrane physical integrity with propidium iodide (PI), and acrosome integrity with FITC-PSA using an epifluorescent microscope. For all sperm end points, there was no difference between the control and natural LDL treatments (P > 0.05): total motility (T1: 20.9 ± 11.9 and average of T2-T5: 25.9 ± 13.6%; mean ± SD), progressive motility (T1: 6.6 ± 4.2 and average of T2-T5: 11.7 ± 7.5%), HOST(+) (T1: 23.7 ± 6.9 and average of T2-T5: 23.2 ± 8.7 %) and PI(-)/PSA(-) (T1: 13.8 ± 7.8 and average of T2-T5: 18.1 ± 7.8%). However, lyophilization was apparently unable to preserve the protective function of LDL; every sperm end point was significantly worse than in the control and natural LDL groups. We concluded that natural LDL was appropriate for cryopreserving ram semen, as it yielded results similar to those obtained with whole egg yolk.
Increased amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during in vitro fertilization (IVF) may cause cytotoxic damage to gametes, whereas small amounts of ROS favour sperm capacitation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of antioxidants [50 microm beta-mercaptoethanol (beta-ME) and 50 microm cysteamine (Cyst)] or a pro-oxidant (5 mm buthionine sulfoximine) on the quality and penetrability of spermatozoa into bovine oocytes and on the subsequent embryo development and quality when added during IVF. Sperm quality, evaluated by the integrity of plasma and acrosomal membranes, and mitochondrial function, was diminished (p < 0.05) after 4-h culture in the presence of antioxidants. Oocyte penetration rates were similar between treatments (p > 0.05), but antioxidants adversely affected the normal pronuclear formation rates (p < 0.05). The incidence of polyspermy was high for beta-ME (p < 0.05). No differences were observed in cleavage rates between treatments (p > 0.05). However, the developmental rate to the blastocyst stage was adversely affected by Cyst treatment (p < 0.05). The quality of embryos that reached the blastocyst stage, evaluated by total, inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm cell numbers and ICM/total cell ratio was unaffected (p > 0.05) by treatments. The results indicate that ROS play a role in the fertilizing capacity in bovine spermatozoa, as well as in the interaction between the spermatozoa and the oocytes. It can be concluded that supplementation with antioxidants during IVF procedures impairs sperm quality, normal pronuclear formation and embryo development to the blastocyst stage.
In this experiment, it was defined a protocol of fluorescent probes combination: propidium iodide (PI), fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated Pisum sativum agglutinin (FITC-PSA), and JC-1. For this purpose, four ejaculates from three different rams (n=12), all showing motility 80% and abnormal morphology 10%, were diluted in TALP medium and split into two aliquots. One of the aliquots was flash frozen and thawed in three continuous cycles, to induce damage in cellular membranes and to disturb mitochondrial function. Three treatments were prepared with the following fixed ratios of fresh semen:flash frozen semen: 0:100 (T0), 50:50 (T50), and 100:0 (T100). Samples were stained in the proposal protocol and evaluated by epifluorescence microscopy. For plasmatic membrane integrity, detected by PI probe, it was obtained the equation
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