Comparison of the permeability properties and post-thaw motility of ejaculated and epididymal bovine spermatozoa

Document Type


Publication Date



There are very few experimental reports on the comparative water transport (membrane permeability) characteristics of ejaculated and epididymal mammalian spermatozoa during freezing. In the present study, we report the effects of cooling ejaculated and epididymal bovine sperm from the same males with and without the presence of a cryoprotective agent, glycerol. Water transport data during freezing of ejaculated and epididymal bovine sperm suspensions were obtained at a cooling rate of 20 °C/min under two different conditions: (1) in the absence of any cryoprotective agents, CPAs and, (2) in the presence of 0.7 M glycerol. Using values published in the literature, we modeled the spermatozoa as a cylinder of length 39.8 μm and a radius of 0.4 μm with an osmotically inactive cell volume, Vb, of 0.61Vo, where Vo is the isotonic cell volume. The subzero water transport response is analyzed to determine the variables governing the rate of water loss during cooling of bovine spermatozoa, i.e. the membrane permeability parameters (reference membrane permeability, Lpg and activation energy, ELp). The predicted best-fit permeability parameters ranged from, Lpg = 0.021-0.038 μm/min-atm and ELp = 27.8-41.1 kcal/mol. The subzero water transport response and consequently the subzero water transport parameters are not significantly different between the ejaculated and epididymal bovine spermatozoa under corresponding cooling conditions. If this observation is found to be more generally valid for other mammalian species as well, then in the future the sperm extracted from the testes of a postmortem male could be optimally cryopreserved using procedures similar to those derived for ejaculated sperm. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)


First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.