Hagedorn, M., McCarthy, M., Carter, V.L., and Meyers, S.A. (2012) Oxidative Stress in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Sperm. PLoS One. 7(6):e39397.
Laboratories around the world have produced tens of thousands of mutant and transgenic zebrafish lines. As with mice, maintaining all of these valuable zebrafish genotypes is expensive, risky, and beyond the capacity of even the largest stock centers. Because reducing oxidative stress has become an important aspect of reducing the variability in mouse sperm cryopreservation, we examined whether antioxidants might improve cryopreservation of zebrafish sperm. Four experiments were conducted in this study. First, we used the xanthine-xanthine oxidase (X-XO) system to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). The X-XO system was capable of producing a stress reaction in zebrafish sperm reducing its sperm motility in a concentration dependent manner (P<0.05). Second, we examined X-XO and the impact of antioxidants on sperm viability, ROS and motility. Catalase (CAT) mitigated stress and maintained viability and sperm motility (P>0.05), whereas superoxide dismutase (SOD) and vitamin E did not (P<0.05). Third, we evaluated ROS in zebrafish spermatozoa during cryopreservation and its effect on viability and motility. Methanol (8%) reduced viability and sperm motility (P<0.05), but the addition of CAT mitigated these effects (P>0.05), producing a mean 2.0 to 2.9-fold increase in post-thaw motility. Fourth, we examined the effect of additional cryoprotectants and CAT on fresh sperm motility. Cryoprotectants, 8% methanol and 10% dimethylacetamide (DMA), reduced the motility over the control value (P<0.5), whereas 10% dimethylformamide (DMF) with or without CAT did not (P>0.05). Zebrafish sperm protocols should be modified to improve the reliability of the cryopreservation process, perhaps using a different cryoprotectant. Regardless, the simple addition of CAT to present-day procedures will significantly improve this process, assuring increased and less variable fertilization success and allowing resource managers to dependably plan how many straws are needed to safely cryopreserve a genetic line.