Cryotolerance of stallion spermatozoa is related to ROS production and mitochondrial membrane potential rather than to the integrity of sperm nucleus.
Yeste M., Estrada E., Rocha LG., Marín H., Rodríguez-Gil JE., Miró J.
Although cryopreservation of stallion spermatozoa allows long-term preservation of spermatozoa from particular stallions and facilitates international trade, it is understood to inflict damages on sperm cells that may finally reduce their fertilizing ability. In addition, individual differences are known to exist in the sperm ability to withstand freeze-thawing protocols. To date, these differences have mainly been reported on the basis of sperm motility and membrane integrity. For this reason, the present work sought to determine differences between good (good freezability ejaculates: GFE) and poor (poor freezability ejaculates: PFE) freezability stallion ejaculates in other sperm parameters, including peroxide and superoxide levels, potential of mitochondrial membrane and nuclear integrity. With this purpose, a total of 24 stallion ejaculates were cryopreserved and classified into two groups (GFE vs. PFE), depending on their sperm membrane integrity and motility after freeze-thawing. From the total of 24 ejaculates, 13 were classified as GFE and the other 11 were classified as PFE. Apart from differences in sperm membrane permeability and lipid disorder after freeze-thawing, GFE presented significantly (p < 0.05) higher percentages of viable spermatozoa with high content of peroxides and of superoxides than PFE. In contrast, and despite cryopreservation of stallion spermatozoa increasing DNA fragmentation and disrupting disulphide bonds in sperm head proteins, no significant differences between GFE and PFE were seen. We can thus conclude that good and poor freezability stallion ejaculates differ in their reactive oxygen species levels after cryopreservation, but not in the damage extent on sperm nucleus.