Owing to the quick genetic turnover of the pig industry, most AI-boar sires live 2-3 yr, a period during which for 1-2 yr their semen is extended and used in liquid form for AI. Despite showing low cryosurvival, affecting fertility after AI, boar semen is frozen for easiness of transport overseas and reposition of valuable genetics. For the latter, semen is stored in liquid nitrogen (LN2, cryostorage) for many years, a controversial practice. Here we studied how length of cryostorage could affect sperm quality. Straws (0.5 mL) frozen using the same cryopreservation protocol at one specific location from AI- sires of proven fertility were stored in LN2 for up to 8 yr. Post-thaw sperm quality was evaluated after 2, 4 or 8 yr of cryostorage, always compared to early thawing (15 d after freezing). Sperm motility and kinematics were evaluated post-thaw using computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) and sperm viability was cytometrically evaluated using specific fluorophores. Sperm viability was not affected by length of cryostorage, but total and progressive sperm motility were lower in sperm samples cryostored for 4 or 8 yr compared to those thawed 15 d after freezing. Cryostorage time affected sperm kinetics, but with greater intensity in the samples cryostored for 4 yr than in those for 2 yr.
The fact that the major phenotypic characteristic of boar spermatozoa, motility, is constrained by time of cryostorage should be considered when building cryobanks of pig semen. Attention should be placed on the finding that >2 yr of cryostorage time can be particularly detrimental for the post-thaw motility of some sires, which might require increasing sperm numbers for AI.
Junwei Li, Inmaculada Parrilla, Maria D.Ortega, Emilio A.Martinez, Heriberto Rodriguez-Martinez, Jordi Roca. Post-thaw boar sperm motility is affected by prolonged storage of sperm in liquid nitrogen. A retrospective study. Cryobiology. Volume 80, February 2018, Pages 119-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cryobiol.2017.11.004