Motility and Plasma Membrane Integrity of Spermatozoa in Fractionated Stallion Ejaculates after Storage


Author's address (for correspondence): A. M. Kareskoski, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Saari Unit, Saarentaus, 04920, Finland. E-mail:


With the aim of investigating properties of stallion seminal plasma to eventually improve semen-handling techniques, sperm motility and plasma membrane integrity were analysed in different fractions of the ejaculates after storage. Semen was collected using a computer-controlled automated phantom that separates the ejaculates into five successive cups. Samples containing seminal plasma and skim milk extender were compared with samples stored in skim milk extender after the removal of seminal plasma by centrifugation. Fractionated ejaculates were stored cooled for 24 h after dilution with extender (Expt 1) or frozen in liquid nitrogen (Expt 2). In Expt 1, cup 1 was pre-sperm fluid, cups 2 and 3 sperm-rich fractions, and cup 4 sperm-poor fractions. In Expt 2, cups 1 and 2 were sperm-rich fractions, and cups 3 and 4 sperm-poor fractions. One sample (WE) represented the whole ejaculate in both experiments. Motility parameters were determined with a Hamilton-Thorn Motility Analyzer, and plasma membrane integrity was assessed using carboxyfluorescein diacetate and propidium iodide staining and fluorescence microscopy. The removal of seminal plasma lowered motility values, but not plasma membrane integrity, in both experiments. No significant differences between cups were observed after cooled storage. The cups differed significantly in most post-thaw motility parameters, and the sperm-rich fraction showed higher post-thaw motility than the whole ejaculate.