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Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2004;42(1):49-55.

The use of comet assay to assess DNA integrity of boar spermatozoa following liquid preservation at 5 degrees C and 16 degrees C.

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1
Department of Animal Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Animal Bioengineering, Warmia and Mazury University, Olsztyn, Poland.

Abstract

The comet assay, under neutral conditions, allows the assessment of DNA integrity influenced by sperm ageing, which is manifested in DNA double-strand breaks. Here, we attempted to use a modified neutral comet assay test (single-cell gel electrophoresis), to our knowledge for the first time, to assess DNA integrity of boar spermatozoa during liquid storage for 96 h at 5 degrees C and 16 degrees C. In this comet assay protocol we used 2% beta-mercaptoethanol prior to the lysis procedure, to aid in removing nuclear proteins. Ejaculates from 3 boars (designated A, C and G) were diluted with a standard semen extender, Kortowo-3 (K-3), which was supplemented with lipoprotein fractions extracted from hen egg yolk (LPFh) or ostrich egg yolk (LPFo). Irrespective of the extender type, the percentage of comet-detected spermatozoa with damaged DNA increased gradually during prolonged storage at 5 degrees C and 16 degrees C. Spermatozoa stored in K-3 extender exhibited elevated levels of DNA damage at both storage temperatures. Significant differences in DNA damage among the boars were more pronounced during storage in LPF-based extenders at 5 degrees C: spermatozoa of boars A and G were less susceptible to DNA damage. The percent of tail DNA in comets was lower in LPF-based extenders, and there were individual variations among the boars. We observed that changes in DNA integrity were dependent on the extender type and storage temperature. A higher level of DNA instability was observed in K-3 extended semen compared with K-3/LPFh or K-3/LPFo extended semen during storage at 5 degrees C. No significant difference in the level of DNA damage between K-3/LPFh and K-3/LPFo was observed. It seems that a long-term storage can affect genomic integrity of boar spermatozoa. The modified neutral comet assay can be used to detect low levels of DNA damage in boar spermatozoa during liquid preservation. Therefore, screening for sperm DNA damage may be used as an additional test of sperm function that can have diagnostic value in practice.

PMID:
15046401
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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