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Maroto-Morales A.,National Wildlife Research Institute | Soler A.J.,National Wildlife Research Institute | Fernandez-Santos M.R.,National Wildlife Research Institute | Roldan E.R.S.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | And 3 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2012

The existence of sperm subpopulations within the mammalian ejaculate has now been widely recognized. However, to the best of our knowledge, no data exist regarding the existence of sperm morphometric subpopulations within the ovine ejaculate. Computer assisted sperm morphometry analysis (ASMA) data and clustering methods were used in this study to identify sperm-head subpopulations in ram semen. Two experiments were carried out. In Experiment 1, ejaculates from 226 mature rams of the Manchega breed belonging to 36 different herds were used. A minimum of 100 sperm heads were analyzed from each male and eight morphometric characteristics for each individual sperm were recorded. Subpopulation analysis was performed in sequential steps: variable group analysis and correlation analysis to select which morphometric characteristics to use in cluster analyses; nonhierarchical clustering analysis using sperm head length and p2a (also known as roundness) shape factor as initial classificatory variables; and hierarchical clustering analysis to obtain the final number of clusters. The clustering analyses, based on 26 306 individual cells, revealed the existence of four sperm subpopulations (SP1, SP2, SP3 and SP4) with different morphometric characteristics. Significant differences in the proportion of spermatozoa in the SP1 and SP3 were found between rams belonging to different herds. In Experiment 2, the intra- and intermale variability on the distribution of sperm subpopulations was assessed. Three ejaculates from each of 21 rams were collected and the same multistep clustering analysis was performed. For all subpopulations defined, the intermale variability resulted in high values, being the intramale variability much lower. This fact would allow the use of sperm head morphometry to characterize a male and might provide valuable information to asses its fertility. In conclusion, our results show that using computer assisted sperm morphometry analysis and multivariate cluster analyses, four sperm subpopulations with different head phenotype were identified in ram ejaculates. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

Ramon M.,National Wildlife Research Institute | Ramon M.,University of Murcia | Martinez-Pastor F.,University of Leon | Garcia-Alvarez O.,University of Castilla - La Mancha | And 6 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2012

Using Iberian red deer as a model, this study presents a supervised learning method, the Support Vector Machines (SVM), to characterize sperm population structure related with freezability. Male freezability was assessed by evaluating motility, membrane status and mitochondrial membrane potential of sperm after a freezing-thawing procedure. The SVM model was generated using sperm motility information captured by computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) from thawed semen, belonging to six stags with marked differences on their freezability. A total of 1369 sperm tracks were recorded for seven kinematic parameters and assigned to four motility patterns based on them: weak motile, progressive, transitional and hyperactivated-like. Then, these data were split in two sets: the training set, used to train the SVM model, and the testing set, used to examine how the SVM method and three other unsupervised methods, a non-hierarchical, a hierarchical and a multistep clustering procedures, performed the sperm classification into subpopulations. The SVM was revealed as the most accurate method in the characterization of sperm subpopulations, showing all the sperm subpopulations obtained in this way high significant correlations with those sperm parameters used to characterize freezability of males. Given its superiority, the SVM method was used to characterize the sperm motile subpopulations in Iberian red deer. Sperm motile data from frozen-thawed semen belonging to 25 stags were recorded and loaded into the SVM model. The sperm population structure revealed that those males showing poor freezability were characterized by high percentages of sperm with a weak motility pattern. In opposite, males showing good freezability were characterized by higher percentages of sperm with a progressive and hyperactivated-like motility pattern and lower percentages of sperm with a weak motile pattern. We also identified a sperm subpopulation with a transitional motility pattern. This subpopulation increased as the freezability of males improved, and may be used as indicative of overall sperm motility. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

Anel-Lopez L.,National Wildlife Research Institute | alvarez-Rodriguez M.,University of Leon | Garcia-alvarez O.,National Wildlife Research Institute | alvarez M.,University of Leon | And 5 more authors.
Animal Reproduction Science | Year: 2012

The use of assisted reproductive techniques in cervids is increasing as the commercial use of these species increase. We have tested the suitability of the antioxidants Trolox and reduced glutathione (GSH) for freezing red deer epididymal spermatozoa, aiming at improving post-thawing quality. Samples from 19 stags were frozen in a TES-Tris-fructose extender (20% egg yolk, 8% glycerol), with 1 or 5. mM of antioxidant. Motility (CASA), lipoperoxidation (malondialdehyde -MDA- production), membrane status, mitochondrial activity, acrosomal status (flow cytometry) and chromatin status (SCSA: %DFI and %HDS; flow cytometry) were assessed after thawing and after 6. h at 39. °C. There were few differences between treatments after thawing, with Trolox reducing MDA production in a dose-response manner. After the incubation, sperm quality decreased and %DFI increased moderately, with no change for MDA. GSH improved motility, kinematic parameters and mitochondrial status, with a slight increase in %HDS. GSH 5. mM also increased moderately MDA production and %DFI, possibly due to enhanced metabolic activity and reducing power. Trolox maintained MDA low, but was detrimental to sperm quality. Trolox might not be appropriate for the cryopreservation of red deer epididymal spermatozoa, at least at the millimolar range. GSH results are promising, especially regarding motility improvement after the post-thawing incubation, and should be selected for future fertility trials. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

Castellanos P.,National Wildlife Research Institute | del Olmo E.,National Wildlife Research Institute | Fernandez-Santos M.R.,National Wildlife Research Institute | Rodriguez-Estival J.,National Wildlife Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

Vertebrates are constantly exposed to a diffuse pollution of heavy metals existing in the environment, but in some cases, the proximity to emission sources like mining activity increases the risk of developing adverse effects of these pollutants. Here we have studied lead (Pb) levels in spermatozoa and testis, and chromatin damage and levels of endogenous antioxidant activity in spermatozoa of red deer (. Cervus elaphus) from a Pb mining area (n=37) and a control area (n=26). Deer from the Pb-polluted area showed higher Pb levels in testis parenchyma, epididymal cauda and spermatozoa, lower values of acrosome integrity, higher activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and higher values of DNA fragmentation (X-DFI) and stainability (HDS) in sperm than in the control area. These results indicate that mining pollution can produce damage on chromatin and membrane spermatozoa in wildlife. The study of chromatin fragmentation has not been studied before in spermatozoa of wildlife species, and the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) has been revealed as a successful tool for this purpose in species in which the amount of sperm that can be collected is very limited. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

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