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Theriogenology. 2005 Mar 15;63(5):1390-406.

Volume regulatory function and sperm membrane dynamics as parameters for evaluating cryoprotective efficiency of a freezing extender.

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Institute for Reproductive Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bünteweg 15, D-30559 Hannover, Germany.


In the past years a series of functional assays has been developed to determine the structural, morphological and functional integrity of the plasma membrane and sperm acrosomal membrane. Cell volume regulation is an important physiological function crucial for the success of cryopreservation. In this study, the effects induced by freezing-thawing were judged by evaluating the functional characteristics of frozen-thawed semen samples submitted to secondary stress such as osmotic challenge or incubation under capacitating conditions, following cryopreservation. Prior to freezing, dog semen samples were diluted in the presence or absence of Equex STM Paste, which contains sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) as the active ingredient. Cell volume regulation and capacitation and calcium ionophore-induced membrane dynamics were assessed in freshly diluted and frozen-thawed semen samples by electronic volume measurement and flow cytometry. Cryopreservation led to a disturbance of the volume regulatory function and to a rapid decrease in the proportion of acrosome-reacted live spermaotozoa. Extender containing Equex STM Paste had a protective effect on isotonic cell volume, on regulatory function under hypertonic conditions, and on the proportion of live acrosome-reacted cells. The evaluation of the functional state of sperm submitted to secondary stress after freezing-thawing leads to a more subtle characterization of sperm function and helps improve the cryoprotective efficiency of the extender.

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