Success in cryopreserving stallion semen has been very variable. Several different freezing regimes have been published. However, because extenders and procedures used in each regime have differed, direct comparison of these techniques has been very difficult, and controlled studies comparing different techniques have not been reported. A number of different factors affect sperm cryosurvival. In this article we review briefly current cryopreservation procedures for stallion semen, and then in more detail cryobiological determinants of sperm function, and mechanisms of cryoinjury and cryoprotectant action. Specific attention is given to data relating to stallion sperm. The complexity of sperm cell biology is believed to be an important factor when developing improvements in stallion semen cryopreservation. It may be assumed that impairment of cell function resulting from cold and osmotic shock is a main source of stallion sperm sensitivity to conventional freezing procedures. Further physiological studies on stallion sperm are required to understand the mechanisms by which cryopreservation alters sperm function and influences selection of sperm with higher fertilizing potential. Such studies should focus especially on the processes involved in sperm volume regulation, sperm-oviduct interaction, capacitation and cellular signalling, and on the alterations in these processes caused by cryopreservation. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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