Mitochondrial activity of frozen-thawed spermatozoa assessed by MitoTracker Deep Red 633

Triin Hallap, Szabolcs Nagy, Ülle Jaakma, Anders Johannisson, Heriberto Rodriguez-Martinez

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The present study was conducted to find a more objective method of evaluating sperm quality than the current subjective motility evaluations by testing the applicability of a novel fluorescent probe, Mitotracker Deep Red 633 (M-22426), for measuring the mitochondrial activity of spermatozoa both after freezing/thawing (PT) and after swim-up selection (SU), using flow cytometry (FC). The results from FC were compared to those of conventional microscopic motility evaluations and of computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) as well as to the fertility obtained after AI in the field. Semen from six Estonian Holstein bulls, processed when the sires were aged 3, 5, and 7 years, was included in the experiment. Sperm motility (measured either subjectively or by means of CASA) was always significantly (p < 0.01-0.001) higher in the spermatozoa recovered by SU, for any of the age groups considered, or even when combining the age groups. Motility (measured subjectively) after SU was significantly (p < 0.05) higher when bulls reached 7 years of age, compared to earlier collection ages, but no differences were registered between ages for CASA-assessed motility, either after SU or immediately PT. The numbers of spermatozoa with high red fluorescence also increased after SU: p < 0.05 (for semen from bulls aged 3 years), p < 0.001 (5 years), p < 0.001 (7 years), and p < 0.001 when all age groups were combined. The proportion of spermatozoa with high mitochondrial activity as determined by Mitotracker Deep Red 633 correlated with sperm motility (p < 0.01) both PT and after SU, but not with the fertility results. In conclusion, MitoTracker Deep Red 633 seems to be a reliable marker for frozen-thawed bovine semen viability both PT and after SU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2311-2322
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - May 2005



  • Aging
  • Bull
  • Frozen semen
  • Mitotracker deep red
  • Motility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine

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