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Can alcohol retain the reproductive and genetic potential of sperm nuclei? Chromosome analysis of mouse spermatozoa stored in alcohol

  • Hiroyuki Tateno (a1), Teruhiko Wakayama (a2), W. Steven Ward (a3) and R. Yanagimachi (a2)

Abstract

Alcohol is known to preserve genomic DNA and the primary structure of sperm protamines. To determine whether alcohol can retain the genetic and reproductive potential of mammalian sperm nuclei, mature mouse spermatozoa were stored in 70% ethanol or propanol for up to 2 months before injection into oocytes. Live offspring were obtained after injection of spermatozoa stored in 70% ethanol for 1 day at -20 °C. About 20% of the spermatozoa stored under this condition had normal chromosomes. The remaining 80% of spermatozoa and all the spermatozoa stored in 70% ethanol for 2 months had structurally aberrant chromosomes, and none could support the development of normal embryos. High concentrations of alcohol do not alter the primary structure of either DNA or small-molecular-weight protamines. However, alcohol may modify protamine—protamine or protamine—DNA interactions in a manner that results in the induction of DNA strand breaks during sperm chromatin decondensation within the oocyte. The limited success in obtaining normal offspring with ethanol-stored spermatozoa is encouraging. It may be possible to overcome these problems and develop a simple method for preserving mammalian spermatozoa without freezing.

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Corresponding author

Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology, University of Hawaii Medical School, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.

Keywords

Can alcohol retain the reproductive and genetic potential of sperm nuclei? Chromosome analysis of mouse spermatozoa stored in alcohol

  • Hiroyuki Tateno (a1), Teruhiko Wakayama (a2), W. Steven Ward (a3) and R. Yanagimachi (a2)

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