Sperm cryopreservation could entail DNA damage, promoting base oxidization and strand breaks. In a previous work we showed that trout DNA damaged sperm is able to fertilize leading to embryo loss when the repair system of the oocyte is inhibited. Here we have analysed the later effects on embryo and larvae of fertilizing trout oocytes with cryopreserved DNA-damaged spermatozoa. Fish have weak sperm selection mechanisms, are very prolific and have external embryo development, being convenient models for this type of study. We cryopreserved rainbow trout semen using extenders containing egg yolk or their low density lipoprotein fraction to obtain samples with different degrees of DNA damage. DNA fragmentation was evaluated using the Comet assay and telomere length using quantitative-PCR. Fertilization trials were performed and the transcription at different developmental stages of telomerase reverse transcriptase (Tert) and eight genes related with embryo growth and development (Igf1, Igf2, Igfr1a, Igfr1b, Gh1, Gh2, Ins1 and Ins2) were analyzed using quantitative-PCR in surviving embryos and larvae. Results showed an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation after both cryopreservation procedures as well as a decrease in sperm telomere length. Larvae obtained with damaged sperm showed longer telomeres and Tert overexpression. The transcription of the analyzed genes in these embryos and larvae was also modified with respect to the control, most of them as an increase at hatch. We conclude that fertilization with cryopreserved DNA-damaged spermatozoa significantly affects offspring performance, detectable as an increase in telomere length as well as some alterations in gene expression in surviving embryo and larvae.
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