Assessment of sperm morphology in Zebu bulls, under field conditions in the tropics


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Bibliographic Details
Author: Chacón Calderón, Jorge
Format: artículo
Publication Date:2001
Description:Sperm morphology was studied in 302 extensively managed Zebu bulls (aged 1.5-9 years), classified as sound (n = 166) or unsound (n = 136) for breeding, under field conditions in the dry tropics of Costa Rica. Single semen samples were collected by electro-ejaculation and fixed in formol-saline solution immediately after collection. Sperm morphology was determined in the field on wet smears using a microscope equipped with phase-contrast optics, and further determined in the laboratory on airdried smears stained with carbol-fuchsin. The frequencies of sperm abnormalities (such as abnormal acrosome, head, neck, mid-piece, tail, and presence of cytoplasmic droplets) were recorded as a percentage of the total number of counted spermatozoa (400 cells). Zebu bulls considered unsound for breeding showed a higher mean prevalence (p < 0.05) of knobbed acrosomes (4.0 versus 0.9%), head defects [specifically, nuclear invaginations and heads with abnormal shapes and sizes (27.6 versus 4.0%)], abnormal tails (11.2 versus 4.7%), and proximal droplets (8.4 versus 1.6%), compared with bulls considered sound for breeding. In these latter bulls, the abnormality most commonly seen was the presence of single bent tails with an entrapped cytoplasmic droplet (3.0 ± 3.7%). Young Zebu bulls (i.e. bulls under 2 years of age) showed a higher percentage of missing acrosomes, and proximal cytoplasmic droplets, than older sires (12.1 versus 2.4%, and 23.9 versus 3.6%, respectively; p < 0.05), interpreted as an indication of low ejaculation frequency and sexual immaturity, respectively. Bulls with a long scrotum and soft testicular consistency (TC) at palpation showed higher percentages of abnormal sperm heads in the ejaculate than bulls with a normal scrotal length (SL) and a normal TC (32.7 versus 12.8% and 30.7 versus 10.3%, respectively; p < 0.05). In addition, Zebu bulls with a scrotal circumference (SC) ≤ 30 cm showed a higher prevalence of proximal cytoplasmic droplets than bulls whose SC was > 30 cm (9.8 versus 2.6%, p < 0.05). A higher mean percentage of abnormally sized and shaped heads, especially undeveloped and narrow at the base, was more frequently found in stained smears than in unstained samples (26.0 versus 9.9%, p < 0.05), which clearly underlines the importance of using both stained and wet smears when assessing sperm head morphology. However, for a quick assessment of sperm morphology under field, tropical conditions, phase-contrast microscopy provides useful information for the spermiogramme evaluation.
Country:Repositorio UNA
Institution:Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica
Repositorio:Repositorio UNA
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Access Level:acceso abierto