Sperm DNA Fragmentation Induced by Cryopreservation: New Insights and Effect of a Natural Extract from Opuntia Ficus Indica

Sperm cryopreservation increases DNA damage in the cytometric PIbr sperm population, an effect that is partly prevented by extracts of Opuntia ficus-indica and resveratrol.

Like Comment


Mehrdad Meamar, Ph.D., Nassira Zribi, Ph.D., Marta Cambi, Lara Tamburrino, Ph.D., Sara Marchiani, Ph.D., Erminio Filimberti, Ph.D., Maria Grazia Fino, Annibale Biggeri, M.D., Yves Menezo, Ph.D., Gianni Forti, M.D., Elisabetta Baldi, Ph.D., Monica Muratori, Ph.D.

Vol 98, Issue 2, Pages 326-333



To analyze the effect of cryopreservation on sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) in two cytometric sperm populations, PIbrighter and PIdimmer, and to test the effects of Opuntia ficus-indica (OFI) extracts, which contain antioxidants and flavanoids, and of resveratrol on cryopreservation of human semen.


In vitro prospective study.


Institutional study.


Twenty-one normozoospermic men undergoing semen analysis for couple infertility.


Cryopreservation using the routine method in the presence of OFI extracts or resveratrol.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Measurment of SDF by TUNEL/PI flow cytometric method to evaluate sperm motility (by automated motion analysis, CASA system) and viability (by eosin/nigrosin staining) in the two populations of sperm PIbr and PIdim.


Cryopreservation induced an increase of SDF only in the PIbr sperm population. The increase was negatively dependent on the basal values of SDF in the same population. Addition of OFI extracts and resveratrol to the cryopreservation medium slightly but statistically significantly reduced SDF in the PIbr population without affecting the deleterious effect of cryopreservation on sperm motion parameters or viability.


The increase of SDF in the PIbr population, which is unrelated to semen quality, suggests that caution must be taken in using cryopreserved semen, as morphologically normal and motile sperm may be damaged. The addition of substances with multifunctional properties such as OFI extracts to cryopreservation medium is only slightly effective in preventing the dramatic effects on SDF.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(12)00537-7/fulltext

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.