Cryopreservation of boar semen. III: Ultrastructure of boar spermatozoa frozen ultra-rapidly at various stages of conventional freezing and thawing.
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Ejaculated boar spermatozoa subjected to a conventional freezing and thawing process, were ultra-rapidly fixed, freeze-substituted and examined by electron microscopy to monitor the presence of real or potential intracellular ice and the degree of cell protection attained with the different extenders used during the process. Numerous ice crystal marks representing the degree of hydration of the cells were located in the perinuclear space of those spermatozoa not in proper contact with the extender containing glycerol (i.e. prior to freezing). The spermatozoa which were in proper contact with the extenders presented a high degree of preservation of the acrosomes, plasma membranes as well as the nuclear envelopes. No ice marks were detected in acrosomes before thawing, indicating that the conventional assayed cryopreservation method provided a good protection against cryoinjury. The presence of acrosomal changes (internal vesiculization, hydration and swelling) in thawed samples however, raises serious questions about the thawing procedure employed.