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Morphology and Chromatin Integrity of Stallion Spermatozoa Prepared by Density Gradient and Single Layer Centrifugation Through Silica Colloids

Authors


Author’s address (for correspondence): JM Morrell, Division of Reproduction, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail: jane.morrell@kv.slu.se

Contents

The objective was to investigate whether it is possible to improve the quality of stallion semen, with respect to sperm morphology and chromatin integrity, both of which have been linked to fertility, using either density gradient centrifugation (DGC) or a new method, hereby named single layer centrifugation (SLC). The two methods of colloidal centrifugation were evaluated using 38 ejaculates from 10 stallions. Sperm morphology, subjective motility and sperm chromatin integrity were compared in uncentrifuged samples and in centrifuged sperm preparations. The proportion of morphologically normal spermatozoa varied between stallions (p < 0.001) and was increased by both methods of colloidal centrifugation (median value before centrifugation 67.5%; after SLC 78%; after DGC 77%; p < 0.001). The incidence of certain abnormalities was reduced, e.g. proximal cytoplasmic droplets were reduced from 12.9% to 8.8% (p < 0.001), and mid-piece defects from 5.3% to 1.4% (p < 0.05). Similarly, sperm motility and chromatin integrity were significantly improved (p < 0.001), with no difference between the two centrifugation methods. Centrifugation through colloids can enrich the proportions of stallion spermatozoa with normal morphology and normal chromatin structure in sperm preparations. The new method, SLC, was as effective as DGC in selecting motile stallion spermatozoa with normal morphology and intact chromatin. SLC, being simpler to use than DGC, would be appropriate for routine use by stud personnel to improve stallion sperm quality in insemination doses.

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