Open Veterinary Journal

Peer-Reviewed Journal

 

Microscopic analysis of MTT stained boar sperm cells

B.M. van den Berg*

Barex Biochemical Products, Seb. Centenweg 45, 1602ML Enkhuizen, The Netherlands

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Abstract

The ability of sperm cells to develop colored formazan by reduction of MTT was used earlier to develop a spectrophotometric assay to determine the viability of sperm cells for several mammalian species. It was the objective of the present study to visualize microscopically the location of the formazan in boar sperm cells. The MTT staining process of boar sperm cells can be divided into a series of morphological events. Incubation of the sperm cells in the presence of MTT resulted after a few min in a diffuse staining of the midpiece of the sperm cells. Upon further incubation the staining of the midpiece became more intense, and gradually the formation of packed formazan granules became more visible. At the same time, a small formazan stained granule appeared medially on the sperm head, which increased in size during further incubation. After incubation for about 1 h the midpiece granules were intensely stained and more clearly distinct as granules, while aggregation of sperm cells occurred. Around 90% of the sperm cells showed these staining events. At the end of the staining the formazan granules have disappeared from both the sperm cells and medium, whereas formazan crystals appeared as thin crystal threads, that became heavily aggregated in the incubation medium. It was concluded that formazan is taken up by lipid droplets in the cytoplasm. Further, the use of the MTT assay to test for sperm viability should be regarded as a qualitative assay, whereas its practical use at artificial insemination (AI) Stations is limited.

Keywords: Boar, MTT staining, Sperm, Viability.

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Cite this paper:

van den Berg, B.M. 2015. Microscopic analysis of MTT stained boar sperm cells. Open Vet. J. 5(1), 58-63.