This study reports the first production of offspring with vitrified sperm from a live-bearing fish Xiphophorus hellerii. The overall goal of this study was to develop streamlined protocols for integration into a standardized approach for vitrification of aquatic species germplasm. The objectives were to (1) estimate acute toxicity of cryoprotectants, (2) evaluate vitrification solutions, (3) compare different thawing methods, (4) evaluate membrane integrity of post-thaw sperm vitrified in different cryoprotectants, and (5) evaluate the fertility of vitrified sperm. Nine cryoprotectants and two commercial vitrification additives were tested for acute toxicity and glass forming ability, alone and in combination. Two vitrification solutions, 40% glycerol (Gly) and 20% Gly+20% ethylene glycol (EG) in 500?mOsmol/kg Hanks balanced salt solution (HBSS), were selected for vitrification of 10??L sperm samples using inoculating loops plunged into liquid nitrogen. Samples were thawed at 24°C (one loop in 5??L of HBSS or three loops in 500??L of HBSS). Samples thawed in 500??L were concentrated by centrifugation (1000 g for 5?min at 4°C) into 5??L for artificial insemination. Offspring were produced from virgin females inseminated with sperm vitrified with 20% Gly+20% EG and concentrated by centrifugation.
This report describes the feasibility of using vitrification for fish sperm. Vitrification can be used to preserve samples in the field and offers an alternative to conventional cryopreservation, although it has not been systematically studied for sperm of aquatic species. The overall goal of the project was to develop streamlined protocols that could be integrated into a standardized approach for vitrification of aquatic species germplasm. The objectives of the present study in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) were to: (1) evaluate the acute toxicity of 5%, 10%, 20% and 30% methanol, N,N-dimethyl acetamide, dimethyl sulfoxide, 1,2-propanediol, and methyl glycol; (2) evaluate a range of devices commonly used for cryopreservation and vitrification of mammalian sperm; (3) compare vitrification with and without cryoprotectants; (4) evaluate the post-thaw membrane integrity of sperm vitrified in different cryoprotectant solutions, and (5) evaluate the ability of vitrified sperm to fertilize eggs. Cryoprotectant concentrations of higher than 20% were found to be toxic to sperm. Methanol and methyl glycol were the least toxic at a concentration of 20% with an exposure time of less than 5 min. We evaluated a method reported for human sperm, using small volumes in loops (15 ?l) or cut standard straws (20 ?l) with and without cryoprotectants plunged into liquid nitrogen. Cryoprotectant-free vitrification using loops did not yield fertilization (assessed by neurulation), and the fertilization rates observed in two trials using the cut standard straws were low (~2%). In general, fertilization values for vitrification experiments were low and the use of low concentrations of cryoprotectants yielded lower fertilization (<10%) than the use of vitrification solutions containing high cryoprotectant concentrations (as high as 25%). The highest neurulation obtained was from a mixture of three cryoprotectants (20% methanol+10% methyl glycol+10% propanediol) with a single-step addition. This was reflected in the flow cytometry data from which the highest membrane integrity using loops was for 20% methanol+10% methyl glycol+10% propanediol (~50%). We report the first successful sperm vitrification in fish and production of offspring from vitrified sperm in channel catfish. Although the fertilization values were low, at present this technique could nevertheless be used to reconstitute lines (especially in small aquarium fishes), but it would require improvement and scaling up before being useful as a production method for large-bodied fishes such as catfish.
Cryopreservation of sperm from Xiphophorus fishes has produced live young in three species: X. hellerii, X. couchianus, and X. maculatus. In this study, the goal was to establish protocols for sperm cryopreservation and artificial insemination to produce live young in X. variatus, and to identify needs for repository development. The objectives were to: 1) collect basic biological characteristics of males; 2) cryopreserve sperm from X. variatus, 3) harvest live young from cryopreserved sperm, and 4) discuss the requirements for establishment of sperm repositories. The 35 males used in this study had a body weight of 0.298±0.096 g (mean±SD), body length of 2.5±0.2 cm, and testis weight of 6.4±3.4 mg. The sperm production per gram of testis was 2.33±1.32×10(9) cells. After freezing, the post-thaw motility decreased significantly to 37%±17% (ranging from 5% to 70%) (p=0.000) from 57%±14% (40%-80%) of fresh sperm (N=20). Artificial insemination of post-thaw sperm produced confirmed offspring from females of X. hellerii and X. variatus. This research, taken together with previous studies, provides a foundation for development of strategies for sperm repositories of Xiphophorus fishes. This includes: 1) the need for breeding strategies for regeneration of target populations, 2) identification of minimum fertilization capacity of frozen samples, 3) identification of fish numbers necessary for sampling and their genetic relationships, 4) selection of packaging containers for labeling and biosecurity, 5) assurance of quality control and standardization of procedures, 6) information systems that can manage the data associated with cryopreserved samples, including the genetic data, 7) biological data of sampled fish, 8) inventory data associated with frozen samples, and 9) data linking germplasm samples with other related materials such as body tissues or cells saved for DNA and RNA analyses.
Coral reefs are experiencing unprecedented degradation due to human activities, and protecting specific reef habitats may not stop this decline, because the most serious threats are global (i.e., climate change), not local. However, ex situ preservation practices can provide safeguards for coral reef conservation. Specifically, modern advances in cryobiology and genome banking could secure existing species and genetic diversity until genotypes can be introduced into rehabilitated habitats. We assessed the feasibility of recovering viable sperm and embryonic cells post-thaw from two coral species, Acropora palmata and Fungia scutaria that have diffferent evolutionary histories, ecological niches and reproductive strategies. In vitro fertilization (IVF) of conspecific eggs using fresh (control) spermatozoa revealed high levels of fertilization (>90% in A. palmata; >84% in F. scutaria; P>0.05) that were unaffected by tested sperm concentrations. A solution of 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at cooling rates of 20 to 30°C/min most successfully cryopreserved both A. palmata and F. scutaria spermatozoa and allowed producing developing larvae in vitro. IVF success under these conditions was 65% in A. palmata and 53% in F. scutaria on particular nights; however, on subsequent nights, the same process resulted in little or no IVF success. Thus, the window for optimal freezing of high quality spermatozoa was short (?5 h for one night each spawning cycle). Additionally, cryopreserved F. scutaria embryonic cells had?50% post-thaw viability as measured by intact membranes. Thus, despite some differences between species, coral spermatozoa and embryonic cells are viable after low temperature (-196°C) storage, preservation and thawing. Based on these results, we have begun systematically banking coral spermatozoa and embryonic cells on a large-scale as a support approach for preserving existing bio- and genetic diversity found in reef systems.
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