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Theriogenology. 2002 Mar 1;57(4):1207-18.

Morphometric characterization and classification of alpaca sperm heads using the sperm-class analyzer computer-assisted system.

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  • 1Department of Animal Biology, València University, Burjassot, Spain.


Sperm morphology has been identified as one characteristic which can be useful in the prediction of sperm fertility, therefore, we hope that this study aimed at establishing standardized morphological criteria might serve in future studies dealing with the search for sperm parameters which facilitate an estimation of sperm quality. For this purpose, ejaculates from fertile alpacas were used to evaluate sperm head morphometry by means of the Sperm-Class Analyzer (SCA) computer-aided image analysis system. We defined three morphological categories according to sperm head size (normal 50%, small 26%, large 24%) and five categories according to sperm head shape (normal 47%, pyriform 3%, short 20%, round 1%, long 29%). Sperm classification according to shape was performed by first morphometrically characterizing sperm heads clearly falling into each of the shape categories. Thereafter, discriminant analysis was performed on the data from these typical sperm heads and the resulting classification functions were used to categorize 2,200 spermatozoa from 11 alpacas. Classification of sperm heads by this method agreed in 88% of the cases with most of the misclassifications being due to pyriform heads classified as long heads. Morphometric values obtained from samples of 50, 100, 150, 175 and 200 sperm heads were compared. At least 150 sperm heads should be evaluated to overcome sample size influence on sperm measurements. Significant differences in sperm morphometry were found between individuals (CV for morphometric parameters ranging from 1.3 to 13.0) and there were marked differences in the sperm morphological composition of the ejaculates. Within-animal CV ranged from 4.7 to 17.8 thus showing the high degree of sperm polymorphism present in the alpaca ejaculate.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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