Development of Sperm MTT Assay for Its Application in Boar Semen

  • Jang, Hyun-Yong (College of Animal Life Science, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Lee, Hee-Young (College of Animal Life Science, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Cheong, Hee-Tae (School of Veterinary Medicine, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Kim, Jong-Taek (School of Veterinary Medicine, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Park, In-Chul (School of Veterinary Medicine, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Park, Choon-Keun (College of Animal Life Science, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Yang, Boo-Keun (College of Animal Life Science, Kangwon National University)
  • Received : 2010.11.15
  • Accepted : 2010.11.30
  • Published : 2010.12.31


The MTT assay is one of superior evaluation methods widely used to analyze the viability of metabolically active cell. It can be used to determine the percentage of viable sperm through measurement of the reduction of MTT granules at mitochondria in sperm tail. The purpose of this study is to determine the optimal condition of a simple and easy MTT assay to validate boar sperm viability and compare the accuracy of this test with microscopic examination. The MTT reduction rate for sperm viability were analyzed in microtiter plates (96 well) from 1 hr to 5 hr incubation periods at $37^{\circ}C$ using spectrophotometer (microplate reader) at 550 nm wavelength. The remainder of semen sample was simultaneously examined to compare the correlation of accuracy between MTT assay and other sperm parameters. Those sperm parameters were included the motility, survival rates, membrane integrity, mitochondria activity and acrosome integrity. The OD values of MTT assay (MTT reduction rates) did not greatly change at 1 hr to 5 hr incubation periods in different proportion of live and freeze-killed sperms (dead sperm). The MTT reduction rates or survival rates were decreased according to the different concentration of live and dead sperm. The linear regression at 1 hr and 4 hr incubation periods in sperm MTT assay was y=291.55x-72.176 and y= 180.64x-44.569, respectively. There are high correlation between 1 hr and 4 hr incubation periods (p<0.001). The results of MTT assay and other sperm parameters has a positive correlation (p<0.01 or 0.05). The correlation coefficients for MTT assay was 0.88115 for motility, 0.89868 for survival rates, 0.91722 for membrane integrity and 0.77372 for acrosome integrity, respectively. In conclusion, the MTT assay can be used as a reliable and efficient evaluation method for boar sperm viability. It can be use practical means to evaluate the quality of boar sperm by a fast, inexpensive and easy method.


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