Succu, Sara and Berlinguer, Fiammetta and Pasciu, Valeria and Satta, Valentina and Leoni, Giovanni Giuseppe and Naitana, Salvatore (2011) Melatonin protects ram spermatozoa from cryopreservation injuries in a dose-dependent manner. Journal of Pineal Research, Vol. 50 (3), p. 310-318. eISSN 1600-079X. Article.
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Cryopreservation harms spermatozoa at different levels and thus impairs their fertilizing ability. The role of melatonin in protecting spermatozoa from different kind injuries has been widely reported. Thus, this study tested whether the addition of melatonin to ram semen freezing extender could exert a protective effect and ameliorate postthawing sperm function. Melatonin was added to recommended ram extender to yield five different final concentrations: 0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1, and 10 mm. A control group without melatonin supplementation was included. Spermatozoa viability, motility parameters, and intracellular ATP concentrations were evaluated both before and after cryopreservation, while DNA integrity and in vitro fertilizing ability were evaluated only after thawing. Obtained results showed that the concentration of 1 mm melatonin led to higher viability rates, higher percentages of total motile and progressive motile spermatozoa, higher percentages of spermatozoa with average rapid and medium velocity, higher intracellular ATP concentrations, and higher DNA integrity among semen frozen in control and melatonin-supplemented extenders (P < 0.05). In addition, results obtained after the IVF test showed that at 1 mm concentration, melatonin led to a faster first embryonic division and to higher total cleavage rates compared to the other experimental groups (P < 0.05). No difference in embryo output was observed among the six experimental groups. In conclusion, the addition of melatonin to ram semen freezing extender protected spermatozoa during cryopreservation in a dose-dependent manner. These results are likely to be mediated by its well-known antioxidant properties, even if a direct action of the indolamine cannot be ruled out.
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