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Immunological castration temporarily reduces testis size and function without long-term effects on libido and sperm quality in boars

  • D. W. Lugar (a1), M. L. Rhoads (a1), S. G. Clark-Deener (a2), S. R. Callahan (a1), A. K. Revercomb (a1), K. J. Prusa (a3) and M. J. Estienne (a4)...
Abstract

The objective was to determine the effects of immunization against gonadotropin-releasing hormone on reproductive characteristics in boars. A total of 72 boars were used in a randomized design with three treatments: single immunization (SI) (10 weeks of age) or double immunization (DI) (10 and 15 weeks of age) with Improvest® and intact controls (no Improvest®; CNT) (n=24/group). At 10, 15, 20, 25 and 40 weeks of age, blood was collected and serum harvested to evaluate testosterone concentrations. Testosterone concentrations were less for DI boars compared with CNT boars and SI boars at 20 and 25 weeks (P<0.001), but not at 40 weeks of age. At week 25, 18 pigs (n=6/group) were sacrificed and testes were removed, weighed and measured, and seminiferous tubules were examined and scored using histological slides of testes parenchyma. A sample of neck fat was assessed for boar taint aroma. All testicular measurements and weights and seminiferous tubule scores were less for DI boars compared with SI and CNT boars (P<0.001). More (P<0.05) SI and CNT boars had detectable boar taint aroma than DI boars. Libido was assessed at 32, 36, 47, 60 and 63 weeks of age and semen collected at 60 weeks of age was analyzed for indicators of quality. There were no effects of treatment (P=0.41) or treatment by week (P=0.71) on libido. Semen volume, gel weight and total number of sperm cells, determined in a subset of boars (n=3/treatment), were not different among treatments. Sperm concentration was greater for DI than SI (P=0.01), and tended to be greater for DI compared with CNT (P=0.10). Sperm motility tended to be greater for DI boars compared with CNT boars (P=0.066). In conclusion, our results show that there are no long-term effects of immunocastration on reproductive characteristics in boars.

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Corresponding author
E-mail: mestienn@vt.edu
References
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animal
  • ISSN: 1751-7311
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