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Seminal plasma mitigates the adverse effect of uterine fluid on boar spermatozoa

Luongo, C., Abril-Sánchez, S., Hernández, J.G., García-Vázquez, F.A.
Theriogenology 2019 v.136 pp. 28-35
acrosome, adverse effects, artificial insemination, boars, epididymis, seminal plasma, uterus, viability
After natural or artificial insemination, spermatozoa start their journey within the uterus to reach the site of fertilization, but only few of them attain this goal. Part of this spermatozoa loss happens in the uterus, in which uterine fluid (UF) seems to be involved. It is known from other species that UF provokes damage to spermatozoa, which is avoided when seminal plasma (SP) is present. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of UF on the quality of ejaculated (previously contacted with SP) and epididymal (without previous contact with SP) boar spermatozoa analyzing motility, kinetic parameters, viability and acrosome integrity in the presence or absence of SP over time. Three experimental groups were evaluated in each source of spermatozoa (ejaculated and epididymal): 1) Control: spermatozoa with 20% of SP; 2) UF: spermatozoa with 20% of UF; and 3) UF-SP: spermatozoa with 20% of SP and 20% of UF. Total and progressive motility, kinetic parameters (VCL, VSL, VAP, LIN, STR, WOB, and BCF), viability and acrosome damage were analyzed at 15, 60, 120 and 180 min after incubation. Total and progressive motility decreased when ejaculated spermatozoa were incubated in UF in contrast to control and UF-SP groups (p < 0.0007), with no differences between control and UF-SP. The VCL decreased in the UF group compared to the control and UF-SP groups in ejaculated spermatozoa (p = 0.0002). The VSL, VAP, LIN and STR kinetic parameters were greater when ejaculated spermatozoa were incubated in the UF-SP group than in the UF group (all: p ≤ 0.02). Acrosome damage increased in ejaculated and epididymal spermatozoa incubated in the UF group compared to the control and UF-SP groups (both: p < 0.0001). Also, the viability of epididymal spermatozoa decreased in the UF group, while it did not change in the control and UF-SP groups (p = 0.0004). The rest of the parameters in either ejaculated or epididymal spermatozoa did not differ between experimental groups, except for WOB when epididymal spermatozoa were used (UF-SP higher than the control group, with UF being similar for both; p = 0.03). In conclusion, both ejaculated and epididymal spermatozoa are affected by UF, suggesting a negative effect on their quality. This negative effect is reduced by the presence of SP, improving the spermatozoa functionality, preserving motility, viability and acrosome integrity.