Antioxidant effect of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) on boar epididymal spermatozoa during cryopreservation

Theriogenology. 2011 Jun;75(9):1735-41. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Feb 18.


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the ability of rosemary to protect epididymal boar spermatozoa from freeze-thaw damage. Testis from eight boars were collected at the slaughterhouse in two trials. In the laboratory, sperm from epididymis were recovered by flushing and cryopreserved in lactose-egg yolk solution supplemented with various concentrations (low; medium; high) of rosemary. After thawing, total motility, viability, acrosome integrity, response to hypoosmotic swelling test (HOST) and malonaldehide (MDA) concentration were assessed. The results showed that there was an increase in motility at 1, 2 and 3 h in the presence of rosemary. The addition of this herb provided a significant beneficial effect on viability at 2 h of incubation, compared to the control group. Conversely, acrosome status was not affected by any extender. Higher concentration of rosemary produced significant improvement in percentages of positive HOST at 0 and 1 h, whereas no impact was observed at the end of incubation. Considering membrane lipid peroxidation, a greater decrease in MDA production was observed when rosemary content was raised. Rosemary-enriched freezing extender improved the post-thaw epididymis boar spermatozoa quality, showing a significant correlation between rosemary concentration and concentration of MDA. Further studies are needed to define the active component in rosemary that prevents peroxidation.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrosome / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cryopreservation / methods
  • Cryopreservation / veterinary*
  • Epididymis / cytology
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rosmarinus / chemistry*
  • Semen Analysis / veterinary
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa*
  • Swine*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts