Sperm cellular and nuclear dynamics associated with bull fertility

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Animal Reproduction Science


The objective of this study was to ascertain cellular characteristics and the dynamics of the sperm chromatin proteins protamine 1 (PRM1) and protamine 2 (PRM2) in the sperm of Holstein bulls having a different fertility status. Important sperm variables were analyzed using computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA). Sperm membrane, acrosome status, DNA integrity were also assessed using propidium iodide (PI), fluorescein isothiocyanate conjugated to Arachis hypogaea (FITC-PNA), and acridine orange (AO) followed by flow cytometry. In addition, abundances of PRM1 and PRM2 were analyzed using flow cytometry experiments. Differences in sperm decondensation capacity were assessed in bulls of varying fertility using a decondensation assay. As determined using CASA, average pathway velocity, amplitude of lateral head displacement and straightness were different (P < 0.05) for sperm from high and low fertility bulls. There, however, were no differences between the high and low fertility bulls for characteristics of sperm plasma membrane, acrosome, and DNA integrity (P > 0.05). Relative abundances of PRM1 and PRM2 in sperm from the high and low fertility bulls were inversely related (P < 0.0001). Percentages of decondensed sperm were different between high and low fertility bulls (P < 0.0001) and total numbers of decondensed sperm were greater in low fertility bulls than high fertility bulls (R2 = 0.72). Results of the present study are significant because molecular and morphological phenotypes of sperm that were detected affect fertility in livestock species.



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