Protective effects of iodixanol during bovine sperm cryopreservation

J. Saragusty*, H. Gacitua, I. Rozenboim, A. Arav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The aim of cryopreservation is to maintain cellular integrity, thereby enabling resumption of proper biological functioning after thawing. Here we propose OptiPrep™ (60% iodixanol in water) as a protectant during sperm cryopreservation using pooled bull semen as the model. We evaluated OptiPrep concentration effect and its relation to cryopreservation by comparing frozen-thawed and chilled samples. Semen, extended in Andromed® with 0 (control), 1.25%, 2.5%, and 5% OptiPrep™, was compared after either chilling or freezing in large volume by directional freezing. Sample evaluation included sperm motility upon thawing and after 3 h incubation at 37 °C for frozen-thawed samples and after 3 h and 6 h of chilling for chilled samples; viability, acrosomal integrity, and hypoosmotic swelling were also tested for frozen-thawed and chilled samples. Chilled samples with 5% OptiPrep™ showed inferior viability (P = 0.047) and 3 h motility (P = 0.017) relative to that for chilled samples with 2.5% OptiPrep and inferior viability (P = 0.042), acrosomal integrity (P = 0.045), and 0 h motility (P = 0.024) relative to that for chilled samples with 1.25% OptiPrep. The 1.25%, 2.5%, and control samples did not differ. In frozen-thawed samples, 2.5% OptiPrep was superior to all other concentrations for 3 h motility (control, P = 0.007; 5% OptiPrep, P = 0.005; 1.25% OptiPrep, P = 0.004) and to 1.25% OptiPrep for acrosomal integrity (P = 0.001). In a search for a protection mechanism, we measured glass transition temperature (Tg) of Andromed® and of Andromed® with 1.25%, 2.5%, and 5% OptiPrep™. Andromed® (-58.78 °C) and 1.25% OptiPrep™ (-58.75 °C) groups had lower mean Tg than that of the 2.5% (-57.67 °C) and the 5% (-57.10 °C) groups. Directional cryomicroscopy revealed that the presence of iodixanol alters ice crystal formation into an intricate net of dendrites. Thus, iodixanol appears to possess cryoprotective properties by helping spermatozoa maintain motility and membrane integrity, possibly through altering ice crystals formation into a more hospitable environment and increasing the glass transition temperature.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1425-1432
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Acrosome
  • Cryoinjury
  • Cryopreservation
  • Cushioned centrifugation
  • Spermatozoa


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