Mouse spermatozoa from the caudae epididymides could be freeze-dried without losing their ability to support normal development. Immature spermatozoa from the testes, in contrast, were damaged by freeze-drying. However, immature spermatozoa became resistant to freeze-drying after their treatment with diamide, which oxidizes free -SH groups. Conversely, epididymal spermatozoa were damaged by freeze-drying if first treated with dithiothreitol (DTT), which reduces -SS- bonds. The potential for freeze-drying damage seems likely to relate to the -SS- status of sperm proteins, in particular its protamines.
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