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Within and between breed differences in freezing tolerance and plasma membrane fatty acid composition of boar sperm

Waterhouse, K.E., Hofmo, P.O., Tverdal, A., Miller, R.R. Jr.
Reproduction 2006 v.131 no.5 pp. 887-894
Duroc, acrosome, boars, breed differences, cold tolerance, cooling, correlation, cryopreservation, docosahexaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, fatty acid composition, flow cytometry, freezing, interspecific variation, landraces, long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid, palmitic acid, plasma membrane, semen, sperm transport, stearic acid, survival rate, thawing
The response of sperm to cryopreservation and the fertility of frozen-thawed semen varies between species. Besides species differences in sperm physiology, structure and biochemistry, factors such as sperm transport and female reproductive tract anatomy will affect fertility of frozen-thawed semen. Therefore, studying differences in sperm cryotolerance between breeds and individuals instead of between species may reveal sources of variability in sperm cryotolerance. In the present study, the effect of cooling, re-warming and freezing and thawing on plasma membrane and acrosome integrity of sperm within and between Norwegian Landrace and Duroc breeds was studied. Furthermore, the relation between post-thaw survival rate and fatty acid composition of the sperm plasma membranes was investigated. Flow cytometry assessments of plasma membrane and acrosome integrity revealed no significant differences between breeds; however there were significant male-to-male variations within breeds in post-thaw percentages of live sperm (plasma membrane intact). The most abundant fatty acids in the plasma membranes from both breeds were palmitic acid (16:0), stearic acid (18:0), oleic acid (18:1, n-9), docosapentaenoic acid (22:5, n-6) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6, n-3). The ratio of [summation operator] 22:5, n-6 and 22:6, n-3/[summation operator] all other membrane fatty acids was significantly related to survival rate (plasma membrane integrity) of sperm for both Norwegian Landrace (correlation coefficient (rs) = 0.64, P < 0.05) and Duroc (rs = 0.67, P < 0.05) boars. In conclusion, male-to-male differences in sperm survival rate after freezing and thawing may be partly related to the amount of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the sperm plasma membranes.