Semen characteristics and their ability to predict sperm cryopreservation potential of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua L.

I.A.E. Butts, I. Babiak, A. Ciereszko, M.K. Litvak, M. Słowińska, C. Soler, E.A. Trippel

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


There is a lack of biomarkers or indices that can be used to predict the quality of fish semen samples following the freezing and thawing cycle. In the present study, a series of semen indices were tested to assess if they could accurately forecast the cryopreservation potential of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) semen. Fresh and frozen-thawed sperm activity variables were compared, and relationships between frozen-thawed sperm activity and fertilization success were examined. In comparison with fresh sperm, activity variables of frozen-thawed spermatozoa were reduced. Of the 18 males examined, mean (± SEM) spermatocrit of fresh sperm was 40.72 ± 4.23%, osmolality of the seminal plasma 366.32 ± 4.95 mOsmol/kg, pH 8.32 ± 0.04, protein concentration 1.05 ± 0.08 mg/mL, anti-trypsin activity 153.83 ± 19.25 U/L, and total antioxidant capacity 0.15 ± 0.03 μmol Trolox equivalents/mL. Frozen-thawed fertilization success was highly variable among males with values ranging from 18.5 to 90.2%. Regressions yielded significant positive relationships between frozen-thawed motility, velocity, track crossing frequency, and subsequent fertilization success. Sequential multiple regressions explained up to 95% of the variation in frozen-thawed sperm activity. Spermatocrit and pH of fresh semen were negatively related, whereas osmolality and antioxidant capacity were positively related to frozen-thawed motility and velocity. Each of these indices can be measured within minutes of collecting a fresh sample of semen and are thus early indicators of the capacity of semen samples to withstand cryopreservation. These results have many benefits for conservation of wild stocks, aquaculture production, and for understanding semen biology and cryobiology of fishes.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1290-1300
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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