Effect of artificial vagina lubricants on stallion sperm quality Academic Article uri icon


  • Commercially available vaginal lubricants, typically labeled as non-spermicidal, are used to lubricate equine artificial vaginas prior to semen collection. Improper type or amount of lubricant might affect stallion sperm quality, either after short-time exposure or following cooled storage of extended semen previously exposed to lubricant. The aim of this study was to evaluate stallion sperm quality following exposure to lubricant-containing extender for 1 h (T1h) or 24 h (T24h). Three ejaculates were collected from each of four stallions using a small volume of petrolatum to lubricate artificial vaginas, and gel-free semen was diluted to 30 × 106 sperm/mL in extender containing: no lubricant (control), or 1 or 5% (v/v) HR® Lubricating Jelly (HR1 or HR5); K-Y® Jelly (KY1 or KY5); Therio-gel® (TG1 or TG5); Priority Care® Sterile Lubricating Jelly (PC1 or PC5); or Clarity® A.I. Lubricating Jelly (CL1 or CL5). Sperm were evaluated at T1h and T24h for percentages of: total and progressive sperm motility (TMOT and PMOT); curvilinear velocity (VCL; μm/s); and straightness (STR; %); viable acrosome intact sperm (VAI); sperm with abnormal DNA (COMP-αt); viable lipid peroxidation negative sperm (VLPN); and sperm with no detectable DNA oxidative injury [8OHdG(-)]. Following short-term exposure of sperm to lubricants, KY5 reduced TMOT, PMOT, VCL, VAI, VLPN, and COMP-αt in comparison with controls (i.e., P < 0.05). PC5 reduced TMOT, PMOT, VCL, VAI, and 8OHdG(-), and KY1 reduced TMOT, VAI, VLPN in comparison to controls (P < 0.05). Lubricant CL1, HR1 and HR5 yielded similar values to controls for all 8 endpoints, and CL5 yielded similar values to controls for all 8 endpoints (P > 0.05), except for VCL. Following long-term exposure, KY5 decreased TMOT, PMOT, VCL, VAI, VLPN, and COMP-αt as compared to controls (i.e., P < 0.05), PC5 decreased TMOT, VCL, VAI, and 8OHdG(-)as compared to controls in PC5, and KY1 decreased TMOT, VAI, VLPN, and COMP-αt (P < 0.05). TG5 decreased TMOT, PMOT, and VCL as compared to controls (P < 0.05). Lubricant CL5 decreased VCL (P < 0.05), and CL1, HR5, HR1, PC1, and TG1 were similar to controls for all 8 endpoints (P > 0.05). Overall, lubricant KY was the most detrimental to sperm quality, with most profound changes detected at a 5% concentration. Lubricants CL and HR were generally similar to controls and were less affected by lubricant concentration.

author list (cited authors)

  • Serafini, R., Ghosh, S., Love, C. C., Medrano, J., Teague, S. R., LaCaze, K. A., & Varner, D. D.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • August 2019