Assessment of spermatozoa in fertile alpaca (Vicugna pacos) males: Study of sperm head morphometry using a nonautomated digital method and sperm morphology based on strict criteria

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Evangelista-Vargas, D
Evangelista-Vargas, S
Valdivia, M
Santiani, A
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John Wiley and Sons Inc
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Although computer-assisted systems for sperm morphometry and morphological analysis are important tools in the study of male fertility, their use in extensive systems in alpacas is limited by factors such as the expense of equipment and the high altitudes of the Andean region. The objectives of this study were to evaluate alpaca sperm head morphometry using a nonautomated digital method and determine the frequency of sperm abnormalities based on strict criteria for sperm morphology in fertile male alpacas. Ejaculates (n = 15) from seven alpacas were collected, and sperm smears stained with modified Papanicolaou were processed. For morphometric analysis, 3,000 sperm (200 cells/sample) images were captured at 400× magnification and Quick Photo MICRO 3.0 software was used for manual measurement of basic (sperm head length, width, perimeter and area) and derived variables (ellipticity, shape factor, elongation and regularity). For morphology assessment, smears were observed at 1000× magnification according to WHO and strict criteria. Average morphometric parameters were length 5.48 μm, width 2.99 μm, perimeter 13.62 μm, area 12.43 μm2, ellipticity 1.86, shape factor 1.20, elongation 0.29 and regularity 1.05. Significant between-individual and within-individual differences were found in morphometric parameters. Based on morphometric study, sperm heads were classified as elliptical or normal (49%), long (18%), short (2%), pyriform (12%), round (9%), large (6%) and small (4%). Morphological analysis found no additional sperm head defects in 49% of normal sperm obtained by morphometry, although a 4% incidence of neck/mid-piece defects and a 16% incidence of principal-piece defects were found. We conclude that sperm head morphometry assessment in fertile alpacas using a nonautomated digital method is feasible, and that defects in sperm heads constitute the main morphological alteration (>50% of the sperm population), based on WHO and strict criteria.
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Spermatozoa, Animals, Camelids, New World, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Male, Semen Analysis