An update on boar semen assessments by flow cytometry and CASA.Theriogenology 2019; 137:93-103T
In the quest for predicting fertility of an individual, enhancing semen handling, dilution and storage protocols, and understanding the impact of environment and, andrologists have changed their approaches to semen analysis. The technologies used today are fast developing and readily implemented in research. Semen is one of a few naturally occurring monocellular suspensions, so sperm function analysis by flow cytometry (FC) and utilization of fluorochromes is an ideal technique for high throughput, objective and accurate analysis. The complementary use of microscopical assessments by Computer-Assisted Semen Analysis (CASA), where sperm cell parameters can be objectively assessed is equally important. The objectivity and repeatability of these techniques have driven research on the function, identification of heterogeneity and fertility of the ejaculate. The wealth of knowledge obtained from the application of these powerful methods has changed our view of the spermatozoon. Although there is some application of these methods in the industry producing boar semen for artificial insemination (AI) and to eliminate sires of sub-standard semen quality, uptake of advanced methods is still slow. Instruments are becoming cheaper and technically more user friendly. Standardization of methodology and optimization of instrument settings is important for full implementation of these systems, including comparison between labs. This review provides an update on two technologies: flow cytometry and CASA for objective analysis of boar semen quality.