Egg yolk is widely used as a cryoprotectant in dog semen extenders, but there is a risk of contamination with animal pathogens. In addition, egg yolk may vary in composition, making it difficult to standardize the extender. Lecithin is an animal protein-free alternative to egg yolk for semen cryopreservation. Recently, it was shown that 1% of soybean lecithin type II-S was better than 2% for freezing canine semen.
The aim of the study was to compare two different types of soybean lecithin, with egg yolk as a control. Ejaculates from eight dogs were divided into three equal parts and diluted with a Tris-based extender, containing either 20% egg yolk, 1% soybean lecithin Type II-S or 1% soybean lecithin Type IV-S. The samples were then frozen.
Sperm motility was evaluated by computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA), acrosome integrity (FITC-PNA/PI) and sperm membrane integrity (SYBR-14/PI) post-thaw, as well as after 2 and 4 hr incubation at 37°C. Post-thaw sperm chromatin structure assay and plasma membrane integrity were evaluated by flow cytometry.
Total motility, sperm plasma membrane integrity and acrosome integrity were significantly better in the egg yolk extender than in the two soybean lecithin-based extenders. Individual motility post-thaw differed more than in the fresh samples, illustrating individual differences in tolerance to the cryostress. The DNA Fragmentation Index (% DFI) was significantly lower in the Tris egg yolk (TEY) extender compared to any of the soybean-based extenders. The number of high green stained spermatozoa were significantly higher in Type IV-S compared to the control TEY extender.
In conclusion, egg yolk was superior to the two lecithin-based extenders to cryopreserve canine semen.
Link to publication
Hermansson, U, Johannisson, A, Axnér, E. Cryopreservation of dog semen in a Tris extender with two different 1% soybean preparations compared with a Tris egg yolk extender. Vet Med Sci. 2021; 7: 812– 819.