Effect of AQP Inhibition on Boar Sperm Cryotolerance Depends on the Intrinsic Freezability of the Ejaculate

Aquaporins (AQPs) are transmembrane channels with permeability to water and small solutes that can be classified according to their structure and permeability into orthodox AQPs, aquaglyceroporins (GLPs), and superAQPs. In boar spermatozoa, AQPs are related to osmoregulation and play a critical role in maturation and motility activation. In addition, their levels differ between ejaculates with good and poor cryotolerance (GFE and PFE, respectively). The aim of this work was to elucidate whether the involvement of AQPs in the sperm response to cryopreservation relies on the intrinsic freezability of the ejaculate. With this purpose, two different molecules: phloretin (PHL) and 1,3-propanediol (PDO), were used to inhibit sperm AQPs in GFE and PFE. Boar sperm samples were treated with three different concentrations of each inhibitor prior to cryopreservation, and sperm quality and functionality parameters were evaluated in fresh samples and after 30 and 240 min of thawing. Ejaculates were classified as GFE or PFE, according to their post-thaw sperm viability and motility. While the presence of PHL caused a decrease in sperm quality and function compared to the control, samples treated with PDO exhibited better quality and function parameters than the control. In addition, the effects of both inhibitors were more apparent in GFE than in PFE. In conclusion, AQP inhibition has more notable consequences in GFE than in PFE, which can be related to the difference in relative levels of AQPs between these two groups of samples ​
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