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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Reproduction

Profile and reproductive roles of seminal plasma melatonin of boar ejaculates used in artificial insemination programs1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 95 No. 4, p. 1660-1668
    Received: Dec 07, 2016
    Accepted: Jan 27, 2017
    Published: April 13, 2017

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. I. Barranco*,
  2. A. Casao,
  3. C. Perez-Patiño*,
  4. I. Parrilla*,
  5. T. Muiño-Blanco,
  6. E. A. Martinez*,
  7. J. A. Cebrian-Perez and
  8. J. Roca 2*
  1. * Department of Medicine and Animal Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Murcia, Murcia 30100, Spain
     Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza 50013, Spain


Melatonin (MLT) is present in seminal plasma (SP) of mammalian species, including pigs, and it is credited with antioxidant properties. This study aims to identify the sources of variation and the role of boar SP MLT on sperm quality and functionality and in vivo fertilizing ability of liquid-stored semen doses used in AI programs. The SP MLT was measured using an ELISA kit in a total of 219 ejaculates collected from 76 boars, and reproductive records of 5,318 AI sows were recorded. Sperm quality was assessed according to motility (computer-aided sperm analysis) and viability (cytometry evaluation). Sperm functionality was assessed according to the cytometric determination of intracellular H2O2 generation, total and mitochondrial O2 production, and lipid peroxidation in liquid AI semen samples stored at 17°C over 144 h. The concentration of SP MLT differed among seasons (P < 0.01) and day length periods (P < 0.001) of the year, demonstrating that the ejaculates collected during the increasing day length period (9.80 ± 1.38 pg/mL, range: 2.75–21.94) had lower SP MLT concentrations than those collected during the decreasing day length period (16.32 ± 1.67 pg/mL, range: 5.02–35.61). The SP MLT also differed (P < 0.001) among boars, among ejaculates within boar, and among portions within the ejaculate, demonstrating that SP from the first 10 mL of sperm-rich ejaculate fraction (SRF) exhibited lower MLT concentrations than post-SRF. The SP MLT was negatively related (P < 0.001) to mitochondrial O2 production in viable sperm. The SP MLT did not differ among AI boars (n = 14) hierarchically grouped according to high and low fertility outcomes. In conclusion, SP MLT concentration in AI boars varies depending on the season of ejaculate collection and differs among boars, ejaculates within boar, and portions within ejaculate. The SP MLT may act at the mitochondrial level of sperm by reducing the generation of O2. However, this antioxidant role of SP MLT was not reflected in sperm quality or in vivo fertility outcomes of AI semen doses.

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