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Evaluation of cholesterol- treated dromedary camel sperm function by heterologous IVF and AI

Crichton, Elizabeth G., Malo, Clara, Pukazhenthi, Budhan S., Nagy, Peter, Skidmore, Julian A.
Animal reproduction science 2016 v.174 pp. 20-28
Camelus dromedarius, bulls, camels, cholesterol, cryopreservation, cyclodextrins, females, freezing, goats, in vitro fertilization, oocytes, protective effect, sperm motility, spermatozoa
Cholesterol (cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrins: CLC) treatment of dromedary camel sperm prior to freezing enhances cryosurvival. The present study first validated the efficacy of a heterologous zona-free goat oocyte assay (n=115 oocytes) to evaluate camel sperm function in vitro (Experiment 1: n=6 bulls), then examined the effects of CLC treatment (1.5mg/mL CLC; CLC+) versus no treatment (0 CLC) of fresh (Experiment 2: n=4 bulls) and frozen-thawed (Experiment 3: n=5 bulls) camel sperm to penetrate, de-condense and form pro-nuclei in in vitro-matured goat oocytes. Finally, the ability of fresh 0 CLC and CLC+ sperm to fertilize in vivo was studied by artificially inseminating super-ovulated females (n=7–9 per treatment) and examining embryo production (Experiment 4: n=4–5 bulls/treatment). Camel spermatozoa penetrated (60%) and formed pro-nuclei (33%) in goat oocytes demonstrating the utility of this heterologous system for assessing sperm function in vitro. For fresh spermatozoa, 0 CLC-treated sperm performed better than their CLC+ counterparts for all parameters measured (P<0.05). In contrast, cryopreservation resulted in a sharp decline in sperm-oocyte interaction in 0 CLC aliquots but remained unaltered in CLC+ aliquots demonstrating a protective effect of cholesterol treatment. There was no difference between treatments in the in vitro fertilizing ability of frozen-thawed sperm or in the numbers of embryos retrieved following AI with fresh 0 CLC or CLC+ sperm. We conclude that although CLC treatment of dromedary camel sperm improves sperm motility it fails to confer an advantage to them in terms of improved in vitro sperm-oocyte interaction or in vivo fertilization under the conditions tested.