Cryopreservation of stallion semen: Effect of adding antioxidants to the freezing medium on sperm physiology

Cryopreservation of stallion semen has not reached the level of efficiency and positive results described in other species. This is mainly due to the greater sensitivity of stallion sperm to the freezing process, showing higher rates of oxidative stress and plasma membrane damage, which trigger the activation of several cell damage pathways that ultimately culminate in DNA fragmentation and cell death. Therefore, finding molecules that improve the efficiency of this technique in stallion by preventing oxidative stress and cell damage is required. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of adding three antioxidants (MnTBAP, NAC and FeTPPS) to the freezing medium on the quality and functional parameters of stallion sperm. Semen samples from three stallions frozen with the antioxidants were evaluated in two conditions: (a) adding the antioxidants before freezing, and (b) before and after freezing. Plasma membrane integrity, mitochondrial membrane potential, lipid peroxidation, intracellular ROS levels, membrane lipid disorder, DNA damage, sperm motility and binding to the zona pellucida were assessed. The results showed that MnTBAP was the antioxidant treatment that best controlled the oxidative stress process and post-thaw cell damage, showing higher plasma membrane integrity, mitochondrial membrane potential, sperm motility, number of spermatozoa bound to the zona pellucida of bovine oocytes and lower lipid disorder. Additionally, it was determined that a second post-thaw application of antioxidants is detrimental since induced higher cell damage and lower sperm motility, without showing any beneficial effect on the spermatozoa.

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