An association between progressive motility (PM) and spermatozoa fertility competence has been suggested. However, the mechanism that underlies PM is not clear enough. We examined physiological characteristics and fatty acid composition of fresh spermatozoa with high and low PM. Additional analysis of fatty acid composition and structural characteristics was performed on spermatozoa samples with high and low progressively motile spermatozoa’s survival (PMSS), i.e., the ratio between the proportion of progressively motile spermatozoa after and before cryopreservation. Finally, a fertility field trial was conducted to examine the association between the number of PM spermatozoa within the insemination straw post thawing and conception rate. Analysis of fresh spermatozoa revealed a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in ejaculates with low PM relative to those with high PM (p <0.01). The proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids was higher in low-PMSS fresh samples (p < 0.05) relative to their high-PMSS counterparts. Fresh samples with high-PMSS expressed a higher mitochondrial membrane potential (p <0.05) and a higher proportion of viable cells that expressed reactive oxygen species (ROS; p < 0.05). Post-thawing evaluation revealed a reduced proportion of progressively motile sperm, with a prominent effect in samples with high PM relative to low PM, defined before freezing (p < 0.01). No differences in spermatozoa mitochondrial membrane potential or ROS level were found post-thawing. A fertility study revealed a positive correlation between the number of progressively motile spermatozoa within a standard insemination straw and conception rate (p < 0.05). Considering these, the bull PMSS is suggested to be taken into account at the time of straw preparation.
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- Conception rate
- Fatty acid composition
- Progressive motility
- Semen cryopreservation