Effect of different freezing velocities on the quality and fertilising ability of cryopreserved rabbit spermatozoa
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The freezing step of the cryopreservation protocol negatively influences the quality and fertilising ability of rabbit spermatozoa. This study determines the effect of different rates of freezing on the quality and fertilising ability of rabbit spermatozoa cryopreserved with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) (1.75M) and sucrose (0.05M). Ejaculates from meat rabbit line males (n=12) were pooled and each pool (n=7) was split into four aliquots. One group of straws (control, C) was frozen in static liquid nitrogen vapour (5cm above the liquid nitrogen, 10min) and the other groups were frozen at different freezing rates (degrees Cmin(-1)) from -6 degrees C to -100 degrees C using a programmable freezer: slow (-15 degrees Cmin(-1), S), medium (-40 degrees Cmin(-1), M) or fast (-60 degrees Cmin(-1), F). After thawing (50 degrees C, 12s), the quality was highest (P<0.05) in C and M samples and lowest in S and F samples. F samples presented the lowest litter sizes (P0.05) and fertility whilst M samples exhibited the highest values. In conclusion, the freezing rate affects both the quality and the fertilising ability of frozen-thawed rabbit spermatozoa, with both slow (-15 degrees Cmin(-1)) and fast (-60 degrees Cmin(-1)) freezing rates being detrimental for the quality and fertilising ability.