In flocks of geese fertility decreases in the second half of the breeding season. The reasons for this reduction in reproduction ability are still unclear. This study measured changes in semen quality variables throughout the period of intensive breeding in relation to hormonal concentrations associated with the sexual activity of ganders. Semen was collected (2×/week) from 2-year-old ganders in the period February-June. Standard ejaculation parameters and spermatozoa (spz) membrane integrity after E/N and SYBR-14/PI staining were evaluated. The DNA Fragmentation Index was measured by flow cytometry and sperm quality factors (SQF). The plasma levels of T, E2, P4, LH, PRL, THs in relation to semen parameters were evaluated. In ejaculate collected at the onset of the second half of breeding (April - spring period), a reduction in sperm concentration and % of liveE/N and liveSYBR-14+/PI- spz was shown. At this time, decrease in concentrations of LH and T and increase in PRL were found as well as moderate changes in THs were observed. However, in May a second peak in T and sperm production occurred. The DFI-% was higher in the middle part of breeding. Gonadal steroids concentration were not good prognostic marker of the reproductive potential of ganders. We suggest that a marked decline in LH and T in the spring period indicated the onset of endocrine changes mediated by PRL and THs resulting in progressive regression of testis functions. The lowest SQF in the spring/summer period coincided with the highest PRL suggesting an anti-spermatogenic action of PRL in ganders.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Staff of Experimental Station for their assistance during the research phase of this study. This study was financially supported by the National Science Centre (grant no. N N 311317136 ) and Ministry of Science and Higher Education ( DS-3241/ZHTCHiDI ) in Poland.
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.
- Domestic geese
- Flow cytometry
- Genetic resources
- Seasonal reproduction