Sperm miR-15a and miR-29b are associated with bull fertility

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MicroRNAs modulate male fertility by regulating gene expression. In this study, dynamics of sperm miR-15a, miR-29b and miR-34a from high fertility (HF) and low fertility (LF) bulls using RT-qPCR were evaluated. Bioinformatic tools were employed to ascertain genes of interest of the sperm miRNAs. The expression levels of p53, BCL2, BAX and DNMT1 in bull spermatozoa were determined by immunoblotting. MicroRNA levels of miR-15a and miR-29 were higher in LF sires when compared with those present in HF bulls. Expression levels of miR-34a did not differ between the two groups. We found an inverse correlation between miR-15a and bull fertility. MiR29-b was also negatively associated with fertility scores. BCL2 and DNMT1 were higher in HF bulls while BAX was higher in the LF group. Our data showed a positive correlation between BCL2 and bull fertility. In addition, DNMT1 was positively associated with bull fertility. Furthermore, levels of BAX were negatively linked with bull fertility scores. Identification of miRNAs found in the spermatozoa of sires with different in vivo fertility helps understand the alterations in the fertilising capacity from cattle and other mammals. These potential biomarkers can be used in reproductive biotechnology as fertility markers to assess semen quality and predict male fertility.



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