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Effect of Cryopreservation on Apoptotic-like Events and its Relationship with Cryocapacitation of Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) Sperm


Author’s address (for correspondence): Govindasamy Kadirvel, Senior Scientist, Division of Animal Production, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya 793 103, India.


This study investigated the apoptosis-like events associated with cryopreservation process and their relationship with cryocapacitation in buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) sperm. A total of 49 semen ejaculates from seven bulls were studied for structural changes in sperm following cryopreservation. Apoptotic changes were detected by assays specific for translocation of phosphatidylserine (PS) to the cell surface, alterations in membrane permeability and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and DNA integrity. A significant (p < 0.01) percentage of cryopreserved sperm showed externalization of PS and early apoptotic changes and lowered MMP when compared with the fresh sperm. Freezing and thawing of sperm increased permeability to YOPRO-1, an impermeant fluorescent dye. However, on TUNEL staining, cryopreserved sperm showed no breach in DNA integrity. The sperm capacitation status was evaluated by chlortetracycline (CTC) fluorescence pattern, in which a significant (p < 0.01) percentage of cryopreserved sperm were found to be capacitated. The capacitated sperm (Pattern B) was positively correlated with the aforementioned apoptotic events. In conclusion, cryopreservation process induced early apoptosis-like changes in buffalo sperm, and a close link exists between cryocapacitation and apoptosis during cryopreservation of sperm.

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