Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sperm DNA damage is related to field fertility of semen from young Norwegian Red bulls

K. E. Waterhouse A B G , T. Haugan A B , E. Kommisrud C , A. Tverdal D , G. Flatberg E , W. Farstad B , D. P. Evenson F and P. M. De Angelis E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Team Semin, PO Box 8146 Departmental Division, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

B The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Department of Production Animal Clinical Science, PO Box 8146 Departmental Division, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

C Geno Breeding and AI Association, N-2326 Hamar, Norway.

D The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, PO Box 8146 Departmental Division, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

E Institute of Pathology, Rikshospitalet, N-0027 Oslo, Norway.

F South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA.

G Corresponding author. Email: karin.waterhouse@veths.no

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 18(7) 781-788 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD06029
Submitted: 4 April 2006  Accepted: 10 July 2006   Published: 15 September 2006

Abstract

Flow cytometry was utilised for the first time to independently measure five sperm parameters of individual spermatozoa of bull ejaculates to differentiate between outcome successes after artificial insemination (AI). These parameters included plasma membrane and acrosome integrity, mitochondrial functionality and DNA damage measured by sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) and terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) assays. For each parameter, results of 142 ejaculates (30 bulls) were ranked into three groups according to their flow cytometric measures: (1) ejaculates with the 25% lowest measures; (2) the 50% middle measures; and (3) the 25% highest measures. In total, 20 272 first-service inseminations (18 × 106 spermatozoa per AI dose) were performed, where fertility was defined as non-return within 60 days after first insemination. While plasma membrane and acrosome integrity, and mitochondrial functionality were not significantly related to fertility, data from SCSA and TUNEL assays were significantly associated with fertility. Ejaculates in SCSA group 1 had higher odds of AI success (1.07, 95% CI = 1.02–1.12), whereas those in group 3 had lower odds of AI success (0.94, 95% CI = 0.89–0.99), compared with the average odds of all three groups. Ejaculates in group 2 did not have significantly higher odds of AI success compared with the average odds. For TUNEL-positive spermatozoa, the odds of AI success was higher in group 1 compared with the average odds (1.10, 95% CI = 1.02–1.13), whereas odds of AI success in groups 2 and 3 were not significant compared with the average odds. In conclusion, despite the high number of spermatozoa per AI dose from high-quality bulls, both SCSA and TUNEL assays were valuable measures in this study for evaluating sperm quality in relation to fertility after AI.

Extra keywords: 60 day non-return rate, sperm DNA fragmentation.


Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Geno Breeding and AI Association for providing the samples for this study.


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