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Reprod Domest Anim. 2005 Dec;40(6):530-6.

Effects of freezing-thawing on DNA integrity of boar spermatozoa assessed by the neutral comet assay.

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Department of Animal Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Warmia and Mazury University in Olsztyn, 10-718 Olsztyn, Poland.


A modified version of the neutral comet assay was employed to evaluate the effect of the freezing-thawing process on boar-sperm DNA integrity. The sperm-rich fractions were collected from four mature boars and frozen into aluminium tubes and straws after extension in lactose-hen egg yolk-glycerol extender (lactose-HEY-G) or an extender containing lactose, lyophilized lipoprotein fractions extracted from ostrich egg yolk and glycerol (lactose-LPFo-G). The semen samples were also frozen in a standard boar semen extender (Kortowo-3), without the addition of cryoprotective substances. Post-thaw sperm motility and plasma membrane integrity, assessed by SYBR-14/PI and Hoechst 33258 stains, declined (p < or = 0.05) with a corresponding increase (p < or = 0.05) in sperm DNA damage, regardless of the extender type and packaging material. Spermatozoa frozen in lactose-HEY-G or lactose-LPFo-G extender showed lower (p < or = 0.05) DNA damage than those frozen in the absence of cryoprotective substances. The addition of HEY or LPFo to the freezing extender helped reduce the rate of cryo-damage to sperm DNA, which varied among the boars. Inter-boar variations in post-thaw DNA damage were more pronounced in sperm samples frozen in lactose-HEY-G or lactose-LPFo-G extender. The results of this study show that the freezing-thawing process affects the DNA integrity of boar spermatozoa, irrespective of the extender type and packaging material. Furthermore, the use of whole hen egg yolk and ostrich lyophilized lipoprotein fractions in the freezing extender gave similar results regarding sperm DNA integrity. It can be concluded that the neutral comet assay can be used in conjunction with routine sperm parameters for assessment of post-thaw quality of boar semen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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