Factors influencing the response of spermatozoa to agitation stress : implications for transport of extended boar semen
The shipping of liquid preserved semen is common practice in animal breeding and prior to cryopreservation for gene banking. Vibration emissions during transport may be harmful to spermatozoa. Therefore, strategies to minimize agitation-induced sperm injury are needed. The aim was to examine whether the type of semen extender, time after semen processing and the temperature in simulated transport conditions influence the response of boar spermatozoa to agitation stress. In Experiment 1, boar semen samples (n = 16) extended in Beltsville Thawing Solution (BTS) or Androstar Plus (APL) medium were filled in 90 mL tubes and shaken for 4 h at 200 rpm either at 22 °C or 17 °C. Samples were then stored at 17 °C for 144 h. In Experiment 2, semen samples (n = 11) extended in Androstar Premium were shaken either directly after filling at 22 °C or 20 h later after cooling to 5 °C. Samples were stored at 5 °C for 144 h. In Experiment 1, sperm motility and viability were lower (p < 0.05) in the shaken samples compared to the controls. The temperature, extender and the storage length had no effect on the agitation-induced loss of sperm quality. Sperm quality traits were higher in samples stored in APL compared to BTS. In Experiment 2, sperm motility at 24 h was reduced (p < 0.05) in those samples shaken at 22 °C but not at 5 °C. Sperm viability, membrane fluidity and mitochondrial membrane potential were not affected in either of the treatment groups. Extended boar semen designed for 17 °C storage and shipped on the day of collection is sensitive to agitation stress. In contrast, spermatozoa slowly cooled to 5 °C and shaken 20 h after processing are more resistant to agitation-induced shear forces and interfacial phenomena.