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Theriogenology. 2008 Dec;70(9):1550-9. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Computer-assisted sperm analysis of fresh epididymal cat spermatozoa and the impact of cool storage (4 degrees C) on sperm quality.

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Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.


Epididymal cat sperm is commonly used for in vitro fertilization. Because of the high variability in preparation protocols and methods of evaluation, sperm quality may vary considerably between experiments and laboratories. The aims of the present study were (1) to describe an epididymal sperm preparation protocol to produce clean, highly motile samples using density gradient centrifugation, (2) to provide reference values of computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) parameters of fresh epididymal cat sperm after density gradient centrifugation and (3) to investigate the effect of cool storage on various spermatozoa characteristics. After slicing the epididymides, viable and motile sperm cells were isolated using Percoll centrifugation. Sperm motility parameters were subsequently assessed using CASA in experiment 1. In experiment 2, fresh (day 0) sperm samples were evaluated for motility parameters (HTR) and stained for assessment of acrosomal status (FITC-PSA), morphology (eosin/nigrosin (E/N)), membrane integrity (E/N and SYBR((R))14-PI) and DNA fragmentation (TUNEL). After addition of a Tris-glucose-citrate diluent containing 20% egg yolk, samples were cooled to 4 degrees C and reassessed on d1, d3, d5, d7 and d10. Cool storage impaired most motility and velocity parameters: MOT, PMOT, VAP, VSL, VCL, BCF, RAPID and the percentage of normal spermatozoa showed a decrease over time (P<0.05) as compared to fresh samples. In contrast, STR, ALH, membrane integrity, DNA fragmentation and the percentage of acrosome intact spermatozoa were not affected by cool storage. However, the influence of cool storage of cat spermatozoa on subsequent in vitro embryo development and quality after IVF requires further investigation.

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