Mini-percoll gradient may be used for frozen-thawed sperm selection in sheep

ABSTRACT This study evaluated the effect of increasing centrifugal force and reducing centrifugation time and volume in Percoll protocols on ram sperm parameters. Commercial semen of Santa Inês rams were used and five treatments were performed: traditional Percoll and mini-Percoll (MP) techniques (I- 5000 x g, 5min; II- 2500 x g, 5min; III- 1250 x g, 5min; IV- 700 x g, 10min). At post-thawing (PT) and post-selection protocols (0h), samples were assessed for spermatozoa recovery rate, motility, plasma membrane (PM) integrity, sperm capacitation and morphology and incubated at 37 C for 1, 2 and 3h. The sperm recovery rate averaged 9.1±1.4%, and most motility parameters were similar (P> 0.05) among protocols. VCL (µm/s) was higher (P< 0.05) after MP-II, III and IV (66.1±4.5) than traditional Percoll (46.3±4.9). Capacitation status and PM integrity were similar (P> 0.05) among treatments. For the first time, we have demonstrated the reduction of the gradient volume and centrifugation time associated with an increase on centrifugation force at Percoll can be successfully used for frozen-thawed ram sperm selection. MP may be used instead of traditional Percoll, decreasing costs and semen handling time.