Theophylline as a capacitating agent of bovine semen

ABSTRACT The sperm capacitating process should take special attention during in vitro embryo production (IVEP) once that affects the success of embryo production. The study aimed to evaluate theophylline as substitute capacitating agent or in combination with heparin on the sperm acrosome reaction and development of embryos produced in vitro. The experiment was carried out using 4 bulls and 3 treatments, establishing 12 experimental groups. Each bull was evaluated in the following treatments: Treatment 1 (HEP): Heparin - 10mg/mL; Treatment 2 (THEO): Theophylline - 5mM; Treatment 3 (HEP + THEO), Heparin (10mg/mL) + Theophylline (5mM). The semen of bulls was incubated in each treatment for 0, 6, 12 and 18h, stained with Trypan blue / Giemsa and analyzed by electron microscopy for assessment of acrosome reaction. Using sperm of same bulls, capacitating agents were added to the fertilization media, for IVEP. In sperm analysis, the true acrosome reaction rate was higher (P<0.05) in time 0h, while sperm dead rates were highest (P<0.05) at 12h (84.46±5, 82), and 18h (86.75±4.19). The produced embryos rate (37.97±13) and hatching rate (33.50±14) were larger (P<0.05) for HEP treatment. There was no difference (P>0.05) between bulls in acrosome reaction analysis neither for IVEP. The use of theophylline was as effective as heparin in the induction of the acrosome reaction, although it resulted in lower embryo production rates.