Cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrin improves ram sperm cryoresistance in skim milk-extender.

  • Publication date : 2016-12-26


Salmon VM, Castonguay F, Demers-Caron V, Leclerc P, Bailey JL. Cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrin improves ram sperm cryoresistance in skim milk-extender. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 2017;177:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2016.11.011. PubMed PMID: 28017451.

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animals cell survival cholesterol cryopreservation cryoprotective agents cyclodextrins egg yolk female fertility freezing male milk pregnancy semen semen analysis semen preservation sheep


Cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrin (CLC) is known to improve ram sperm cryosurvival. This study expands on previous research to: (1) determine the mechanism by which CLC improves ram sperm cryosurvival and (2) compare the efficiency of a novel, skim milk-based extender containing CLC to a traditional egg yolk-based extender. Hypothesis #1 was that CLC enhances membrane cholesterol content to increase the resistance of ram sperm to cold and osmotic stress, thereby improving cryosurvival. We first assessed the ability of fresh sperm treated with CLC to withstand cold shock. Second, fresh sperm were treated with CLC to evaluate their tolerance to osmotic stress. Third, to confirm that cholesterol is incorporated into the sperm using CLC, we quantified sperm cholesterol. To test Hypothesis #2 that CLC is most effective in a medium without competing cholesterol, we compared sperm cryosurvival and fertility in skim milk-based extender containing CLC versus in a traditional egg yolk-based freezing extender without CLC. Our data confirmed that CLC treatment improves ram sperm cold shock and osmotic stress resistance, and augments sperm cholesterol content. Semen in skim milk-based extender containing CLC prior to freezing, had more motile sperm with intact acrosomes after thawing compared to semen in egg yolk-based extender. In contrast, sperm plasma membrane integrity and in vivo fertility of the semen cryopreserved in the skim milk-based extender with CLC did not differ from semen that was cryopreserved in egg yolk-based extender. Further research is warranted to combine CLC with other cryoprotection strategies or to modify the insemination protocol.