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Theriogenology. 2007 Jan 15;67(2):217-27. Epub 2006 Aug 23.

The influence of antioxidant, cholesterol and seminal plasma on the in vitro quality of sorted and non-sorted ram spermatozoa.

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  • 1Centre for Advanced Technologies in Animal Genetics and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


In an effort to improve the number of functional spermatozoa following sex-sorting and cryopreservation, the effects on in vitro sperm characteristics of the additives: (i) catalase (pre-sorting); (ii) cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrins (CLCs; pre-sorting); and (iii) seminal plasma (post-thawing) were investigated. For all experiments, spermatozoa (three males, n=3 ejaculates/male) were processed using a high speed flow cytometer before cryopreservation, thawing and incubation for 6h. Catalase had no effect (P>0.05) on post-thaw motility characteristics (as measured by CASA) of sex-sorted ram spermatozoa, but pre-sort addition of CLCs reduced (P<0.05) sperm quality after post-thaw incubation for 0 h (motility), 3h (motility, average path velocity, viability and acrosome integrity) and 6h (motility, average path and curvilinear velocity, straightness, linearity, viability and acrosome integrity). Seminal plasma had a differential effect (P<0.001) on sex-sorted and non-sorted spermatozoa. Post-thaw supplementation of increasing levels of seminal plasma caused all motility characteristics of sex-sorted, frozen-thawed spermatozoa to decline (P<0.05); conversely, non-sorted, frozen-thawed spermatozoa exhibited improvements (P<0.05) in motility, viability, acrosome integrity and mitochondrial respiration. In summary, incorporation of catalase, CLCs and seminal plasma into the sorting protocol failed to improve post-thaw sperm quality and, consequently efficiency of sex-sorting of ram spermatozoa. The paradoxical effect of seminal plasma supplementation on the in vitro characteristics of ram spermatozoa provides further evidence that sex-sorting by flow cytometry produces a selected population of cells with different functions compared with non-sorted spermatozoa.

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