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Abstract

In individual dogs, despite good quality of raw sperm, some parameters are significantly changed after thawing, which cannot be predicted. We therefore investigated whether motility parameters objectively obtained by CASA, membrane integrity (MI), cell morphology or a combination are suitable to improve the prediction of bad post-thaw quality. For this purpose 250 sperm analysis protocols from 141 healthy stud dogs, all patients introduced for sperm cryopreservation, were evaluated and a Classification and Regression Tree (CART) -analysis performed. The sperm was routinely collected, analysed, and frozen by using a modified Uppsala system. After thawing, data were routinely examined by using CASA, fluorescent microscopy for membrane integrity (MI) and Hancock’s fixation for evaluation of cell morphology. Samples were sorted by post-thaw progressive motility (P) in good (P > / = 50%, n=135) and bad freezers (P<50%, n=115). Among bad freezers, 73.9% showed in addition post-thaw total morphological abberations of >40% and/or MI <50%. Bad freezers were significantly older than good freezers (p<0.05). Progressive motility (P), velocity curvilinear (VCL), mean coefficient (STR), and linear coefficient (LIN) were potential predictors for post-thaw sperm quality since specifity was best (85.8%) and sensitivity (75.4 %) and accuracy (80.4 %) good. For these objectively measured raw sperm parameters, cut-off values were calculated allowing prediction of bad post-thaw results with high accuracy: P = 83.1 % VCL = 161.3 µm/sec, STR = 0.83 %, and LIN = 0.48 %. Raw sperm samples with values below these cut off values will have below average post-thaw quality with a probability of 85.8%. We conclude that VCL, P, STR and LIN are potential predictors of the outcome of sperm cryopreservation, when combined.
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