Objective evaluation of ram and buck sperm motility by using a novel sperm tracker software
This work offers researchers the first version of an open-source sperm tracker software (Sperm Motility Tracker, V1.0) containing a novel suit of algorithms to analyze sperm motility using ram and buck sperm as models. The computer-assisted semen analysis is used in several publications with increasing trend worldwide in the last years, showing the importance of objective methodologies to evaluate semen quality. However, commercial systems are costly and versatility is constrained. In the proposed method, segmentation is applied and the tracking stage is performed by using individual Kalman filters and a simplified occlusion handling method. The tracking performance in terms of precision (number of true tracks), the percentage of fragmented paths and percentage of correctly detected particles were manually validated by three experts and compared with the performance of a commercial motility analyzer (Microptic’s SCA). The precision obtained with our sperm motility tracker was higher than the one obtained with a commercial software at the current acquisition frame rate of 25 fps (P < 0.0001), concomitantly with a similar percentage of fragmentized tracks (P = 0.0709) at sperm concentrations ranging 25–37 x 106 cells/mL. Moreover, our tracker was able to detect trajectories that were unseen by SCA. Kinetic values obtained by using both methods were contrasted. The higher values found were explained based on the better performance of our sperm tracker to report speed parameters for very fast motile sperm. To standardize results, acquisition conditions are suggested. This open-source sperm tracker software has a good plasticity allowing researchers to upgrade according requirements and to apply the tool for sperm from a variety of species.
Source: The journal of Reproductive Science