Single-Layer Centrifugation Reduces Equine Arteritis Virus Titre in the Semen of Shedding Stallions


Author's address (for correspondence): JM Morrell, Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7054, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail:


Several countries have adopted strategies for preventing and/or controlling equine viral arteritis based on vaccination and restricting the breeding activities of carrier stallions. However, in some cases, carrier stallions are only identified after they have transmitted virus to a mare. Therefore, a mechanism for separating virus from spermatozoa in the semen of carrier stallions would facilitate control measures for preventing disease transmission. In this study, the use of several modifications of single-layer centrifugation (SLC, SLC with an inner tube and double SLC) through Androcoll-E, a species-specific colloid were evaluated for their ability to separate spermatozoa from virus in ejaculates from carrier stallions. The three types of SLC significantly reduced the virus titre in fresh semen at 0 h and in stored semen at 24 h (p < 0.001) but did not completely eliminate the virus. Sperm motility parameters such as total motility and progressive motility were significantly increased after colloid centrifugation, whereas curvilinear velocity and amplitude of lateral head deviation were decreased, and the remainder (straight line velocity, average path velocity, straightness, linearity, wobble and beat cross-frequency) were not significantly affected by the processing. Although virus titres were reduced in the SLC samples, significant levels of infectivity still remained, especially in stallions shedding large amounts of virus. It remains to be determined whether SLC-processed sperm samples from stallions shedding low virus titres retain sufficient equine arteritis virus to cause infection in mares through artificial insemination.