Effect of Storage Media and Storage Time on Histological and Ultrastructural Changes in Cat Epididymal Cells


Authors’ address (for correspondence): María Alejandra Stornelli, Laboratorio de Reproducción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Calle 60 y 118, La Plata B1900VW, Buenos Aires, Argentina. E-mail: astornel@fcv.unlp.edu.ar


The aim of this study was to assess the histological and ultrastructural changes in cat epididymides (n = 22) stored at 4°C in two different media [saline solution (SAL) or tris-egg yolk (TEY)]. Our hypothesis was that epididymides stored in TEY would have delayed epithelial cell autolysis. Four epididymides were fixed and processed immediately, and the remaining 18 epididymides were stored at 4°C in SAL or TEY for 24, 48 or 72 h. In histological sections, the nuclear features and stereocilia morphology were scored from 0 to 3. Ultrastructurally, nuclear chromatin and stereocilia morphology were scored from 0 to 3. In addition, using transmission electron microscopy nuclear number, nuclear area, mitochondrial number and mitochondrial area were recorded. In the histological study, parameters changed with time and media (p < 0.01). A significant effect of time was observed (p < 0.01), and the morphological changes were greatest when the storage time increased. Morphological changes were higher in SAL compared with TEY (p < 0.01). In the ultrastructural study, nuclear chromatin and stereocilia morphology decreased with time and media as in the histological study (p < 0.01). In addition, nuclear number and nuclear area changed with time (p < 0.004; p < 0.001) but not with media. Conversely, mitochondrial number and mitochondrial area did not change with media or time (p > 0.05). In conclusion, these results show that TEY preserved epididymal epithelial cells better than SAL; this finding could help improve sperm quality of stored epididymides.