Sperm cryopreservation update: Cryodamage, markers, and factors affecting the sperm freezability in pigs.
Cryopreservation is the most efficient method for long-term preservation of mammalian sperm. However, freeze-thawing procedures may strongly impair the sperm function and survival and thus decrease the reproductive performance. In addition, the sperm resilience to withstand cryopreservation, also known as freezability, presents a high individual variability. The present work summarizes the principles of cryoinjury and the relevance of permeating and nonpermeating cryoprotective agents. Descriptions about sperm cryodamage are mainly focused on boar sperm, but reference to other mammalian species is also made when relevant. Main cryoinjuries not only regard to sperm motility and membrane integrity, but also to the degradation effect exerted by freeze-thawing on other important components for sperm fertilizing ability, such as mRNAs. After delving into the main differences between good and poor freezability boar ejaculates, those protein markers predicting the sperm ability to sustain cryopreservation are also mentioned. Moreover, factors that may influence sperm freezability, such as season, diet, breed, or ejaculate fractions are discussed, together with the effects of different additives, like seminal plasma and antioxidants. After briefly referring to the effects of long-term sperm preservation in frozen state and the reproductive performance of frozen-thawed boar sperm, this work speculates with new research horizons on the preservation of boar sperm, such as vitrification and freeze-drying.