Rhesus monkey sperm cryopreservation with TEST-yolk extender in the absence of permeable cryoprotectant

Qiaoxiang Dong, Liane M. Correa, Catherine A. VandeVoort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Recently, there has been increased interest in ultra-rapid freezing with mammalian spermatozoa, especially for vitrification in the absence of cryoprotectants. Sperm cryopreservation in non-human primates has been successful, but the use of frozen-thawed sperm in standard artificial insemination (AI) remains difficult, and removal of permeable cryoprotectant may offer opportunities for increased AI success. The present study intended to explore the possibility of freezing rhesus monkey sperm in the absence of permeable cryoprotectants. Specifically, we evaluated various factors such as presence or absence of egg yolk, the percentage of egg yolk in the extenders, and the effect of cooling and thawing rate on the success of freezing without permeable cryoprotectants. Findings revealed that freezing with TEST in the absence of egg yolk offers little protection (<15% post-thaw motility). Egg yolk of 40% or more in TEST resulted in decreased motility, while egg yolk in the range of 20-30% yielded the most motile sperm. Cooling at a slow rate (29 °C/min) reduced post-thaw motility significantly for samples frozen with TEST-yolk alone, but had no effect for controls in the presence of glycerol. Similarly, slow thawing in room temperature air is detrimental for freezing without permeable cryoprotectant (<2% motility). In addition to motility, the ability of sperm to capacitate based on an increase in intracellular calcium levels upon activation with cAMP and caffeine suggested no difference between fresh and frozen-thawed motile sperm, regardless of treatment. In summary, the present study demonstrates that ejaculated and epididymal sperm from rhesus monkeys can be cryopreserved with TEST-yolk (20%) in the absence of permeable cryoprotectant when samples were loaded in a standard 0.25-mL straw, cooled rapidly in liquid nitrogen vapor at 220 °C/min, and thawed rapidly in a 37 °C water bath. This study also represents the first success of freezing without permeable cryoprotectant in non-human primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Egg yolk
  • Epididymal sperm
  • Freezing
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Non-human primate
  • Semen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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