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Testicular dysfunction is responsible for low sperm quality in Belgian Blue bulls
University of Ghent, Belgium .
University of Ghent, Belgium .
University of Ghent, Belgium .
University of Ghent, Belgium .
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2008 (English)In: Theriogenology, ISSN 0093-691X, E-ISSN 1879-3231, Vol. 69, no 3, 323-332 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a previous study, we demonstrated that Belgian Blue (BB) bulls have a higher prevalence of small scrota and poorer semen morphology compared to the Holstein Friesian (HF) breed in Belgium. The present study tested the hypothesis that the underlying reason for these BB traits negative to fertility was testicular degeneration, associated with an eventual hypoplastic background. At culling, sperm quality and testicular histology of BB bulls were assessed and compared to that of HF bulls. Besides semen quality being generally poorer in the BB breed, significantly more degenerative changes were encountered in BB compared to HF testicles (degeneration index: 37.7 +/- 11.9 versus 29.3 +/- 9.9 for BB and HF bulls, respectively; P = 0.053). These results correlated to the percentage of normal spermatozoa (r = -0.44; P = 0.024) and primary abnormalities (r = 0.38; P = 0.053). Moreover, the relative amount of collagen fibers present in the testicular interstitial connective tissue was correlated with % normal sperm (r = -0.47; P = 0.017), primary defects (0.48; P = 0.014), and the degeneration results (r = 0.63; P less than 0.001). The % testicular interstitial collagen fibers differed significantly between breeds (10.6 +/- 4.0% for the BB versus 7.6 +/- 1.9% for the HF bulls; P = 0.016). This increased amount of connective tissue in BB testes might hypothetically be responsible for the poorer sperm quality. This condition can be defined as a mild form of testicular hypoplasia, and might, in turn, be responsible for the higher sensitivity to testicular degeneration, which is encountered in the BB breed. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2008. Vol. 69, no 3, 323-332 p.
Keyword [en]
Belgian blue; Holstein Friesian; sperm quality; testicular degeneration
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-101764DOI: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2007.09.034ISI: 000252653200007OAI: diva2:666679
Available from: 2013-11-23 Created: 2013-11-22 Last updated: 2015-03-12

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Rodriguez-Martinez, Heriberto
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