Short-Term Storage and Swim-Up Selection Do Not Affect the X/Y Ratio in Equine Spermatozoa



The standard procedure of artificial insemination with fresh equine spermatozoa involves short-term storage (to 48 h at 5°C). This procedure is accompanied by a gradual loss of sperm viability. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the X/Y ratio of equine spermatozoa is affected by short-term storage and the swim-up procedure. We used a standard protocol, for short-term storage (0, 24 and 48 h at 5°C) of stallion semen diluted in the commercial extender EquiPro™ (Minitüb GmbH, Tiefenbach, Germany). After each set-up storage period, the motile fraction of sperm cells was selected by the swim-up method. The X/Y ratio was evaluated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in the fresh, non-selected sperm, and in motile spermatozoa selected after each of the storage periods. Molecular probes for the equine chromosomes X and Y were used. The X/Y ratio in all sperm samples analysed in this study (fresh and stored) was not different from the theoretical 1 : 1 value. The incidence of chromosomally abnormal sperm cells in the fresh (0.28%) and motile (0.13%) sperm samples was not significantly different. The two approaches (sperm storage up to 48 h and the swim-up procedure) applied to this study did not affect the X/Y ratio in the motile fraction of equine spermatozoa. This finding does not conform to phenomena described for human and cattle. For this reason, the finding may imply species-related differences.