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Anim Reprod Sci. 2009 Mar;111(1):93-104. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Feb 9.

Effects of long-term chilled storage of red deer epididymides on DNA integrity and motility of thawed spermatozoa.

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  • 1Reproductive Biology Group, National Wildlife Research Institute (IREC), UCLM-CSIC-JCCM, and Institute of Regional Development (IDR), UCLM, Albacete, Spain.


We have carried out a study on the influence of prolonged cold storage (5 degrees C) of Iberian red deer epididymides on post-thaw sperm motility and DNA integrity. Twenty-nine pairs of testes, with attached epididymides, were collected during November and December. Spermatozoa from one of each of the pairs were immediately recovered, evaluated and frozen (control). The remaining epididymides were cooled to 5 degrees C and stored for 24, 96 and 192 h (experimental groups), after which spermatozoa were collected and frozen. Samples were evaluated before freezing, after thawing, and after a 2-h period of incubation at 37 degrees C. Motility was evaluated by means of a CASA system and chromatin stability was assessed following the Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA). Our results showed that, during the first 96 h, the motility (total and progressive) did not significantly decline when assessed after cryopreservation, although there was a significant decline when epididymides had been stored for 192 h at 5 degrees C (P<0.001). The present study demonstrates that motility and DNA status of thawed spermatozoa collected from refrigerated epididymes, at least 96 h post-mortem, were good enough to consider their eventual use. Most importantly, sperm DNA integrity after thawing was apparently not affected by storage time, even after 192 h.

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