Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 45, Number 1, January-February 2005
Page(s) 29 - 37
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 45 (2005) 29-37
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2005002

Evaluation of dog semen quality after slow (biological freezer) or rapid (nitrogen vapours) freezing

Ada Rotaa, Alessandra Rotab, Marco Martinic, Chiara Milanid and Stephano Romagnolid

a  Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Turin, via Leonardo da Vinci 44, Grugliasco (TC), Italy
b  Department of Veterinary Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pisa, S. Piero a Grado (PI), Italy
c  Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Hygiene, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Padua, Agripolis 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
d  Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Padua, Agripolis 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy

(Received 13 April 2004; accepted 1 October 2004)

Abstract - Three ejaculates were collected from each of five dogs. After initial evaluation, the sperm-rich fractions were diluted to 100 × 106 spermatozoa·mL-1 in two steps with an egg yolk-TRIS extender containing a final concentration of 5% glycerol and 0.5% Equex STM paste. Half of the 0.5 mL straws obtained from each ejaculate were frozen on nitrogen vapours (4 cm above the liquid surface) ("rapid freezing"), while the other half was frozen in a biological freezer at a rate of 0.5 °C·min-1 between 5 °C and -10 °C and of 8 °C·min-1 between -10 °C and -60 °C, followed by immersion in liquid nitrogen ("slow freezing"). After an average storage of 30 days, the straws were thawed in a water-bath at 37 °C for 1 min. Progressive motility was subjectively estimated hourly for 8 h on semen incubated at 38 °C. Immediately after thawing and after 2 h of incubation, motility parameters were also measured by a motility analyser. Sperm membrane function and chromatin stability were assessed immediately post-thaw, using the hypo-osmotic swelling test and acridine orange staining, respectively. Slow freezing significantly improved total post-thaw motility, which showed a slower decline over time, although spermatozoal average path and straight line velocity were lower compared to the fast rate. Also the number of intact membrane spermatozoa was significantly higher in slow-frozen samples while the proportion of spermatozoa with single-stranded DNA was minimal after both freezing procedures.

Key words: dog / semen / cryopreservation / freezing rate

Corresponding author: Ada Rota

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005