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Multicolor flow cytometric analysis of cryopreserved bovine sperm: a tool for the evaluation of bull fertility


Bucher, K; Malama, E; Siuda, Mathias; Janett, Fredi; Bollwein, Heiner (2019). Multicolor flow cytometric analysis of cryopreserved bovine sperm: a tool for the evaluation of bull fertility. Journal of Dairy Science, 102(12):11652-11669.

Abstract

The study aimed at the analysis of the functional status of cryopreserved bovine sperm using multicolor flow cytometry. The value of sperm functional traits as predictors of bull fertility was further evaluated through a retrospective fertility study. For this purpose, 20 Holstein-Friesian bulls serving as mature sperm donors in an artificial insemination (AI) center were selected based on their annual 56-d non-return rate (%) after at least 1,000 AI, and were accordingly classified as high (HF; nHF = 10 bulls) or low fertility bulls (LF; nLF = 10 bulls). Four to 5 cryopreserved ejaculates per bull (91 ejaculates in total) were examined immediately after thawing (0 h) and after a 3-h incubation at 38°C (3 h). A panel of 5 fluorochromes including calcein violet, propidium iodide, pycoerythrin-conjugated lectin of Arachis hypogea, Fluo-4, and cyanine dye DiIC1(5) was configured by means of a 3-laser flow cytometer, to simultaneously assess sperm esterase activity, plasma membrane integrity, acrosomal status, intracellular Ca2+ levels, and mitochondrial membrane potential, respectively. The % relative size of 18 sperm sub-populations showing 2 or more of a combination of the following features was determined: high esterase activity (Cpos), intact plasma membrane (PIneg), unstained acrosome (PNAneg), low intracellular Ca2+ levels (Fneg), and high mitochondrial membrane potential (Mpos). In both fertility groups, Mpos cells comprised more than 90 and 84% of PInegPNAneg sperm at 0 and 3 h, respectively. The percentage of CposPInegPNAnegFnegMpos sperm did not differ between HF and LF ejaculates; however, the percentage of Fneg cells within the PInegPNAneg and PInegMpos sperm populations at 0 h was higher in the HF than in the LF bulls. Applying the random forest ensemble learning method, approximately two-thirds of ejaculates could be correctly assigned to their fertility group. The fraction of Fneg sperm within the PInegMpos population at 0 h was the most important fertility predictor among the 18 defined sperm populations. In conclusion, multicolor flow cytometry offered an insight into the functional heterogeneity of cryopreserved bovine sperm. Indeed, the ability of viable sperm to retain low Ca2+ levels differed between bulls of diverse fertility. A classifier based on selected sperm populations assessed through multicolor flow cytometry could contribute to the prognosis of bull fertility after AI.

Abstract

The study aimed at the analysis of the functional status of cryopreserved bovine sperm using multicolor flow cytometry. The value of sperm functional traits as predictors of bull fertility was further evaluated through a retrospective fertility study. For this purpose, 20 Holstein-Friesian bulls serving as mature sperm donors in an artificial insemination (AI) center were selected based on their annual 56-d non-return rate (%) after at least 1,000 AI, and were accordingly classified as high (HF; nHF = 10 bulls) or low fertility bulls (LF; nLF = 10 bulls). Four to 5 cryopreserved ejaculates per bull (91 ejaculates in total) were examined immediately after thawing (0 h) and after a 3-h incubation at 38°C (3 h). A panel of 5 fluorochromes including calcein violet, propidium iodide, pycoerythrin-conjugated lectin of Arachis hypogea, Fluo-4, and cyanine dye DiIC1(5) was configured by means of a 3-laser flow cytometer, to simultaneously assess sperm esterase activity, plasma membrane integrity, acrosomal status, intracellular Ca2+ levels, and mitochondrial membrane potential, respectively. The % relative size of 18 sperm sub-populations showing 2 or more of a combination of the following features was determined: high esterase activity (Cpos), intact plasma membrane (PIneg), unstained acrosome (PNAneg), low intracellular Ca2+ levels (Fneg), and high mitochondrial membrane potential (Mpos). In both fertility groups, Mpos cells comprised more than 90 and 84% of PInegPNAneg sperm at 0 and 3 h, respectively. The percentage of CposPInegPNAnegFnegMpos sperm did not differ between HF and LF ejaculates; however, the percentage of Fneg cells within the PInegPNAneg and PInegMpos sperm populations at 0 h was higher in the HF than in the LF bulls. Applying the random forest ensemble learning method, approximately two-thirds of ejaculates could be correctly assigned to their fertility group. The fraction of Fneg sperm within the PInegMpos population at 0 h was the most important fertility predictor among the 18 defined sperm populations. In conclusion, multicolor flow cytometry offered an insight into the functional heterogeneity of cryopreserved bovine sperm. Indeed, the ability of viable sperm to retain low Ca2+ levels differed between bulls of diverse fertility. A classifier based on selected sperm populations assessed through multicolor flow cytometry could contribute to the prognosis of bull fertility after AI.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Food Science
Life Sciences > Animal Science and Zoology
Life Sciences > Genetics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Food Science, Animal Science and Zoology, Genetics, bull; fertility; flow cytometry; multicolor; sperm
Language:English
Date:1 December 2019
Deposited On:06 Jan 2020 15:25
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:13
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-0302
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-16572
PubMed ID:31521361

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