Cryopreservation effects on domestic cat epididymal versus electroejaculated spermatozoa
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Frozen-thawed epididymal spermatozoa have already been successfully used in artificial insemination in the domestic cat, proving to be a valuable resource for the reproduction of felid species, which are threatened with extinction. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of freezing and thawing on domestic cat semen collected by electroejaculation (EL) and from the epididymides (EP) and vasa deferentia. Ten adult cats were anesthetized, electroejaculated and immediately thereafter, orchiectomized. Epididymal spermatozoa were collected through the compression of caudae epididymidis and vasa deferentia. Spermatozoa were frozen-thawed following a single protocol. Sperm motility, sperm progressive status (0-5), plasma membrane integrity and morphology (light and transmission electron microscope) were assessed on two occasions, immediately after collection and after freezing and thawing. There were no significant differences between the electroejaculated and epididymal fresh or frozen-thawed spermatozoa for any of the variables. However, the incidence of acrosome defects after freezing and thawing increased by 19% based on light microscopy, whereas ultrastructural images revealed acrosome damages in most sperm cells. Since these acrosomal changes are known to affect sperm fertilising capacity, further studies are needed to optimize cryopreservation techniques for epididymal as well as electroejaculated domestic cat spermatozoa. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.