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Effectiveness of ultra-rapid cryopreservation of sperm from endangered species, examined by morphometric means

O'Brien, E., Esteso, M.C., Castaño, C., Toledano-Díaz, A., Bóveda, P., Martínez-Fresneda, L., López-Sebastián, A., Martínez-Nevado, E., Guerra, R., López Fernández, M., Vega, R.S., Guillamón, F.G., Santiago-Moreno, J.
Theriogenology 2019 v.129 pp. 160-167
Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Bovidae, Cervidae, Ursus arctos, acrosome, cryopreservation, dolphins, endangered species, epididymis, freezing, gazelles, head, morphometry, mouflon, thawing, viability
This study compares the effectiveness of the ultra-rapid and conventional freezing of sperm from captive bovids, giraffids, cervids, ursids, a cercopithecid, a delphinid and a phascolarctid. The relationship between sperm head dimensions and cryosurvival was also examined. Compared to conventional freezing, the ultra-rapid freezing of epididymal sperm from the dama gazelle, giraffe and brown bear returned higher cryoresistance ratios (CR, the ratio, in percentage, between the value of the variable after thawing/value before thawing) for sperm viability and motility. In the remaining species, the conventional freezing of epididymal sperm returned better CR values. The conventional freezing method also returned better CR values for ejaculated samples from all species. The head dimensions of both fresh epididymal and ejaculated sperm differed widely among species: for epididymal sperm, dolphin sperm heads were the smallest (7.189 ± 0.049 μm2) and dama gazelle sperm heads the largest (43.746 ± 0.291 μm2), while for ejaculated sperm, giant panda sperm heads were the smallest (15.926 ± 0.150 μm2) and mouflon sperm heads the largest (38.258 ± 0.104 μm2). However, no significant correlations were detected between the CR for motility, viability, membrane functional integrity or acrosome integrity and the sperm head area, either for epididymal or ejaculated sperm. In conclusion, ultra-rapid freezing is especially recommended for the cryopreservation of dama gazelle, giraffe and brown bear epididymal sperm. Sperm head dimensions appear not to be useful predictors of how well sperm might survive freezing.