Standard sperm evaluation parameters do not enable predicting their ability to survive cryopreservation. Mitochondria are highly prone to suffer injuries during freezing, and any abnormalities in their morphology or function are reflected by a decline of sperm quality. Our work focused on describing a link between the number and the activity of mitochondria, with an aim to validate its applicability as a biomarker of bovine sperm quality. Cryopreserved sperm collected from bulls with high (group 1) and low (group 2) semen quality was separated by swim up
. The spermatozoa of group 1 overall retained more mitochondria (MitoTrackerGreen
) and mtDNA copies, irrespective of the fraction. Regardless of the initial ejaculate quality, the motile sperm contained significantly more mitochondria and mtDNA copies. The same trend was observed for mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm, JC-1), where motile sperm displayed high ΔΨm. These results stay in agreement with transcript-level evaluation (real-time polymerase chain reaction, PCR) of antioxidant enzymes (PRDX1
), which protect cells from the reactive oxygen species. An overall higher level of glutathione synthetase (GSS
) mRNA was noted in group 1 bulls, suggesting higher ability to counteract free radicals. No differences were noted between basal oxygen consumption rate (OCR) (Seahorse XF Agilent) and ATP-linked respiration for group 1 and 2 bulls. In conclusion, mitochondrial content and activity may be used as reliable markers for bovine sperm quality evaluation.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited