Post-Thaw Sperm Quality and Functionality in the Autochthonous Pig Breed Gochu Asturcelta

Animals (Basel). 2021 Jun 24;11(7):1885. doi: 10.3390/ani11071885.


Genetic resource banks (GRB) preserve the genetic material of endangered, valuable individuals or genetically relevant breeds. Semen cryopreservation is a crucial technique to reach these goals. Thus, we aimed to assess the sperm parameters of semen doses from the native pig breed Gochu Asturcelta stored at the GRB of Principado de Asturias (GRB-PA, Gijón, Spain), focusing on intrinsic and extrinsic (boar, season) factors. Two straws per boar (n = 18, 8-71 months of age) were thawed, pooled, and assessed after 30 and 150 min at 37 °C by CASA (computer-assisted sperm analysis system; motility and kinematic parameters) and flow cytometry (viability, acrosomal status, mitochondrial activity, apoptosis, reactive oxygen species, and chromatin status). The effects of age, incubation, and season on post-thawing quality were determined using linear mixed-effects models. Parameters were on the range for commercial boar breeds, with chromatin status (SCSA: fragmentation and immaturity) being excellent. Incubation decreased sperm quality and functionality. The boar age did not have a significant effect (p > 0.05), but the between-boar variability was significant (p < 0.001). The season significantly affected many parameters (motility, kinematics, viability, acrosomal status, mitochondrial activity), especially after 150 min of incubation. In general, samples collected in spring and summer showed higher quality post-thawing, the lowest in winter. In conclusion, the sperm doses from the Gochu Asturcelta breed stored at the GRB-PA showed excellent chromatin status and acceptable characteristics after thawing. Therefore, boar and seasonal variability in this autochthonous breed could be relevant for cryobank management.

Keywords: autochthonous breeds; pig; seasonality; sperm cryopreservation; sperm quality.