Effect of supplementation of valine to chicken extender on sperm cryoresistance and post-thaw fertilization capacity

B. Bernal, N. Iglesias-Cabeza, U. Sánchez-Rivera, A. Toledano-Díaz, C. Castaño, S. Pérez-Cerezales, A. Gutiérrez-Adán, A. López-Sebastián, P. García-Casado, M.G. Gil, H. Woelders, E. Blesbois, J. Santiago-Moreno*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Recent reports showed a positive correlation between frozen–thawed rooster sperm DNA integrity and the concentrations of valine in seminal plasma. The present study evaluated the effect of supplementing valine to semen extender for freezing sperm of 2 endangered local Spanish chicken breeds with different sperm cryoresistance: Red Villafranquina (VF) showing low sperm DNA integrity after cryopreservation and Quail Castellana that shows higher DNA integrity. One pool of semen per breed was obtained twice a week for 10 wk (n = 40, 20 per breed). Each pool was divided into 2 fractions. One of these fractions was frozen in presence of valine as additive in the extender (concentration 10 mmol), whereas the other was used as control. The evaluation of the samples before and after freezing-thawing included motility (CASA-Mot system), viability (propidium iodide and SYBR-14), DNA integrity (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling), and fertility rate (percentage of eggs with blastoderm development after artificial insemination). Supplementation of valine increased several motility variables of fresh semen. In VF breed, valine increased percentage of progressive motile sperm (P = 0.025), curvilinear velocity (P = 0.033), straight-line velocity (P = 0.040), and average path velocity (P = 0.033), whereas progressive motile sperm (P = 0.019), curvilinear velocity (P = 0.006), straight-line velocity (P = 0.003) and average path velocity (P = 0.004) were improved in the Quail Castellana breed. Valine addition increased the DNA integrity of cryopreserved semen (decreased post-thaw DNA fragmentation) in both breeds, with a significant effect (P = 0.002) in VF (36.3% VF-control vs 31%VF-valine). As expected, Quail Castellana cryopreserved sperm control showed higher fertility rate (34.4% ± 12.1) than VF cryopreserved sperm control (16.1% + 6.2). Supplementing valine to the freezing extender doubled (P = 0.026) the fertility rate of VF (32.6% ± 12.2) compared with the control (16.1% + 6.2). In conclusion, supplementation of valine to chicken freezing extenders shows a positive effect on DNA fragmentation and fertilizing ability of frozen–thawed sperm, with a better response in a breed considered as the lowest freezer in our conservatory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7133-7141
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number12
Early online date7 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • DNA integrity
  • sperm cryoresistance
  • valine

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