2018 Volume 64 Issue 4 Pages 327-335
Artificial insemination with cryopreserved semen is a well-developed technique commonly used for controlled reproduction in cattle. However, despite current technical advances, cryopreservation continues to damage bull spermatozoa, resulting in a loss of approximately 30 to 50% of viable spermatozoa post thawing. To further improve the efficiency of cryopreservation of bull spermatozoa, understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the cryobiological properties that affect cryoinjuries during cryopreservation process of bull spermatozoa is required. In this study, we examined the expression and localization of aquaporin (AQP) 3 and AQP7 in fresh, cooled, and frozen-thawed bull spermatozoa. Furthermore, we investigated the relevance of AQP3 and AQP7 to motility and to membrane integrity in frozen-thawed bull spermatozoa. Western blotting against AQP3 and AQP7 in bull spermatozoa revealed bands with molecular weights of approximately 42 kDa and 53 kDa, respectively. In immunocytochemistry analyses, immunostaining of AQP3 was clearly observed in the principal piece of the sperm tail. Two immunostaining patterns were observed for AQP7 ―pattern 1: diffuse staining in head and entire tail, and pattern 2: diffuse staining in head and clear staining in mid-piece. Cooling and freeze-thawing did not affect the localization pattern of AQP7 and the relative abundances of AQP3 and AQP7 evaluated by Western blotting. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the relative abundances of AQP3 and AQP7 varied among ejaculates, and they were positively related to sperm motility, particularly sperm velocity, post freeze-thawing. Our findings suggest that AQP3 and AQP7 are possibly involved in the tolerance to freeze-thawing in bull spermatozoa, particularly in the sperm’s tail.