Season-induced variation in lipid composition is associated with semen quality in Holstein bulls

N. Argov-Argaman, K. Mahgrefthe, Y. Zeron, Z. Roth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Season-induced variation in fatty acid and cholesterol composition in bovine semen has been associated with semen quality. Given the specific roles of the various semen compartments (seminal fluids, sperm head, and sperm tail) in fertilization, we hypothesized that environmental-stress-induced alterations in the lipid composition of a specific compartment might impair semen quality and sperm function. Semen samples were collected from five mature Holstein-Friesian bulls during the summer (August to September) and winter (December to January). Semen was evaluated by computerized sperm-quality analyzer, calibrated for bulls' semen, and centrifuged to separate the spermatozoa from the seminal fluids. The spermatozoal fraction was sonicated to separate the sperm head and tail compartments. Cold lipid extraction was performed with chloroform: methanol (2:1, vol/vol). Lipids were identified and quantified by gas chromatography. Seasonal variation was found in both physiological and structural parameters. The proportion of spermatozoa defined as morphologically normal was higher in the winter, with higher motility, progressive motility, and velocity relative to summer samples. Lipid composition within fractions varied between seasons with prominent impairment in the tail compartment, characterized by high saturated fatty acid, low polyunsaturated fatty acid, and low cholesterol concentrations during the summer. Given the association between alterations in lipid composition and reduced sperm motility and velocity during the summer, it is suggested that lipid composition might serve to predict sperm quality.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)479-489
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Season-induced variation in lipid composition is associated with semen quality in Holstein bulls'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this