Factors affecting chromatin stability of bovine spermatozoa
AuthorKhalifa, T. A. A.; Rekkas, C. A.; Lymberopoulos, A. G.; Sioga, A.; Dimitriadis, I.; Papanikolaou, T.
The structural stability of transcriptionally inert paternal chromatin is of vital importance for the fertilization process and early embryonic development. Accordingly, a series of eight experiments were conducted during a 7-month period to investigate: (1) effects of bull breed, individuality, successive ejaculations, semen quality characteristics (SQC), semen dilution rates and hypothermic storage of semen in a Tris-egg yolk extender on incidence of sperm nuclear chromatin instability (NCI), and (2) effects of the interaction between variation of NCI within a frozen ejaculate and variation of oocytes quality due to maturation time and/or season on the efficiency of in vitro embryo production (IVEP). Semen samples were collected once a week from six bulls using an AV and only ejaculates (n = 220) of >0.30 x 10(9) sperm/ml and >= 60% motility were used. NCI was measured by: (1) detection of lysine-rich histones in sperm chromatin using aniline blue staining, (2) sperm susceptibility to acid-induced nuclear DNA denaturation in situ using acridine orange test, and (3) sperm susceptibility to nuclear chromatin decondensation (NCD). Bovine oocytes (n = 695) were matured in vitro for 18 or 24 h, fertilized after sperm selection through a swim-up procedure and cultured for 72 h. The results showed that the 2nd ejaculates were superior to the 1st ones with respect to chromatin stability. Dilution of semen to 49.67 +/- 8.56 x 10(6) sperm/ml (1:19) decreased resistance of sperm to NCD. Cooling of semen had no significant effect on chromatin stability. Cryopreservation of semen augmented sperm vulnerability to DNA denaturation. Improvement of SQC (semen volume, sperm motility, velocity, viability and morphological normalcy) was generally concomitant with increase of sperm resistance to NCI. While Blonde d'Aquitaine bulls had a resistance to NCD higher than Limousine bulls in fresh semen, the former showed a greater susceptibility to DNA denaturation than the latter in cooled semen. Individuality significantly influenced NCI. The variability of NCI within a frozen ejaculate affected efficiency of IVEP. Significant negative correlations were observed between incidence of NCI and both fertilization rate and developmental capacity of embryos after maturation of oocytes for 18 h. The significant variation in IVEP traits due to season was independent of the effect of sperm chromatin instability. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.