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Theriogenology. 2005 Oct 1;64(6):1422-39. Epub 2005 Apr 7.

Comparison of in vitro laboratory analyses with the fertility of cryopreserved stallion spermatozoa.

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1
Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.

Abstract

Assessing the fertilizing potential of a semen sample is important for effective stallion management and for rapid progress in evaluating new cryopreservation technologies. Unfortunately, sperm motility does not estimate fertility well. These experiments established assays to measure cell viability, acrosomal integrity and mitochondrial function for cryopreserved stallion spermatozoa, using flow cytometry, and determined the variability associated with these assays. Correlations between results for these laboratory assays and stallion fertility were also determined. The inter-assay variability for visual motility, computer assisted motility, and sperm velocity, sperm viability, percent viable-acrosome intact cells and mitochondrial function of cells were all similar, however, intra-assay variability was lower for flow cytometric assays than for motility assays. The reliability of all assays were >0.72, except for sperm velocity (0.32). Although visual motility and the straightness of sperm motility conducted 90 min after thawing were correlated with seasonal fertility (0.56 and 0.55, respectively), data from no single assay were correlated with first-cycle fertility rates (P > 0.05). Best models using data from multiple assays explained 66 to 73, 76 to 89 and 79 to 94% of the variability in fertilizing potential, when two, three and four variables were included, respectively. Caution is required in interpreting these data, as only a few stallions were evaluated and relatively few mares were bred to each stallion, however, they do indicate that using a few rapid and inexpensive sperm assays, we can begin to understand factors important in stallion sperm fertilizing capacity, and we can use these assays to more effectively evaluate new methods for cryopreserving stallion spermatozoa.

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