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Semen Quality of Bulls as Influenced by Breed, Body Condition Score and Ascorbic Acid under Heat Stress

PJZ_51_5_1699-1703

 

 

Semen Quality of Bulls as Influenced by Breed, Body Condition Score and Ascorbic Acid under Heat Stress

Muamber Shah1, Muhammad Subhan Qureshi1, Rifat Ullah Khan1, Muhammad Mobashar1, Mubashar Ali Khalique2, Irfan Khattak3, Ambrina Tariq4, Ijaz Ahmad1 and Shabana Naz5,*

1Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar

2Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Poonch, Rawlakot, Azad Kashmir

3College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan

4Civil Veterinary Hospital, Dera Ismail Khan, Directorate of Livestock and Dairy

Development, Peshawar

5Department of Zoology, Govt. College University, Faisalabad

ABSTRACT

This study evaluated the effect of breed, body condition score and ascorbic acid supplementation on the semen quality of breeding bulls. A total of 8 adult (≥2 year) bulls (2 each from Jersey, Friesian, Sahiwal and cross bred) were selected with body condition score (BSC) at a scale of (0-5). The results showed that mean semen volume was significantly (P<0.05) high in Friesian bull. Sperm concentration and motility were significantly (P<0.05) high in Jersey bull while live sperm percentage was significantly (P<0.05) high in Jersey bulls and sperm abnormality was significantly (P<0.05) high in Sahiwal and Friesian-Sahiwal cross. In addition, semen quality was improved in all the breeds after supplementation of vitamin C. There was no significant effect of BCS on the sperm quality of bulls. The results give important information regarding the semen quality of different breeds of bulls under heat stress condition.


Article Information

Received 01 November 2018

Revised 11 December 2018

Accepted 20 December 2018

Available online 18 June 2019

Authors’ Contribution

MS, MSQ and RUK conducted the study. MM, MAK and IK wrote and edited the manusript. IA conducted the statistical analysis. SN revised the manusript.

Key words

Bulls, Semen, Body condition score, Motility.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2019.51.5.1699.1703

* Corresponding author: drshabananaz@gcuf.edu.pk

0030-9923/2019/0005-1699 $ 9.00/0

Copyright 2019 Zoological Society of Pakistan



Introduction

When the animal is exposed to high environmental temperature a state of heat stress could occur which affects the quality of semen (Marai et al., 2010). Heat stress may directly affect reproductive performance in the form of impaired spermatogenesis and lower testosterone level (Murugaiyah, 1992). In Pakistan, during summer, the atmospheric temperature ranges from 30-45oC. For exotic breeds, high ambient temperature has adverse effect on the reproductive performance (Ihsanullah et al., 2017). Ascorbic acid works as a natural antioxidant and is found in elevated level in seminal fluid (Thiele et al., 1995). Vitamin C also plays an important role in reproduction and showed significant results (Luck et al., 1995; Khan et al., 2012). Its role in the physiological reproduction had been undefined. Ascorbic acid prevents sperm oxidative damage by keeping genetic integrity of sperm cells. Considering the merits and future potential and benefits of using ascorbic acid, its effects on the semen parameters are needed to be explored. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the effects of different levels of ascorbic acid and body condition score (BCS) on semen quality and semen traits of bulls. The present study assessed the effect of heat stress on the semen quality under different BCS and the ameliorative effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on semen traits of different breeds of bulls.

 

Materials and methods

A total of 8 adult (≥2 year) bulls (2 each from Jersey, Friesian, Sahiwal and cross bred) were selected. Body condition score was recorded at a scale of (0-5) points as described by Ihsanullah et al. (2016). Further 12 animals of different breeds were selected and divided into four treatment groups. Ascorbic acid was supplemented in feed at the rate of 0, 50, 100, and 200 mg/day of feed. The experiment was continued for 3 weeks.

Semen evaluation

Semen was collected from the experimental bulls early in the morning using artificial vagina (AV). Soon after collection, semen was transferred to water bath with a temperature of 35°C for further investigation. The collection was done twice a week i.e., Monday and Thursday. The semen samples were subjected to determination of semen volume, sperm concentration, percentage of motile spermatozoa, live dead and sperm morphology as described by Majid et al. (2015).

Temperature and humidity index (THI)

The THI was calculated using the formula of Ihsanullah et al. (2017) as follow:

THI = (0.8 × Tmix) + [(H/100) × (Tmix − 14.4)] + 46.4

Where, Tmix is maximum temperature in centigrade and H is percent relative humidity.

Different levels of THI in dairy breeds: THI=< 72 (no stress), THI = 72-79 (mild stress), THI = 80-89 (moderate to high stress) and THI = > 96 (very danger and death may occur).

Statistical analyses

Data was statistically analyzed with the help of statistical software, Statistix (version 8.1). Means of control and treated groups were compared by using one way analysis of variance (Steel et al., 1997).

 

Results

Among the different breeds, maximum semen volume was produced by Holstein Friesian (HF) bulls followed by Jersey, Friesian Sahiwal Crossed (FSC) and Sahiwal as given in Table I. The overall mean volume of semen was also significantly higher (P<0.05) in HF breed as compared to other breeds in this study even in condition of high temperature and humidity. The results also presented that the volume of the semen in all breeds was high during first week and then reduced with an increase in temperature and humidity index. The concentration of semen was also significantly different (P<0.05) in different breeds of bulls in this study. Significantly, the highest semen concentration was found in Jersey bulls followed by HF, FSC and Sahiwal even at in high temperature and humidity. The overall mean of high concentration was also significantly high in sperm of Jersey bulls as shown in Table I. The result presented in Table I describes sperm percent motility of different breeds of bulls in different weeks at high temperature and humidity. The sperm percent motility was significantly (P<0.05) increased in Jersey bulls followed by the HF, FSC and Sahiwal breeds of bulls. The overall mean of sperm percent motility was also significantly high in Jersey breed of bulls compare to others. Results on live percentage of sperm among different breeds during various weeks at high temperature and humidity are shown in Table II. Live percentage of sperm was significantly (P<0.05) higher in Jersey breed of bulls followed by the HF, FSC and Sahiwal breed. The overall live percentage was also significantly high in Jersey bulls. Sperm primary abnormality of different breeds of bulls at different weeks in different temperature and humidity are shown in Table II. However, FSC bull breed showed significantly (P<0.05) greater sperm primary and secondary abnormalities at high temperature and humidity as compared to other bull breeds.

 

Table I.- Mean values of semen traits of different bull breeds at different temperature and humidity index (n=64).

Breed

Parameters

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Overall mean

Friesian

Volume (ml)

6.26±0.14a

6.20±0.13a

5.75±0.15a

5.50±0.28a

5.68±0.03a

Concentration (106/ml)

1375.0±14.43b

1375.0±14.43b

1300.0±28.86b

1275.0±14.43b

1331.3±1.04b

% Motility

89.00±0.28b

88.50±1.15b

88.50±0.28b

87.50±0.28b

88.40±0.05b

Jersey

Volume (ml)

5.35±0.14b

5.30±0.12b

5.25±0.10b

5.25±0.14a

5.50±0.00ab

Concentration (106/ml)

1725.0±14.43a

1675.0±14.43a

1600.0±28.86a

1600.0±28.86a

1650.00±7.21a

% Motility

92.00±0.28a

91.50±0.86a

91.50±0.57a

91.50±0.86a

91.63±0.20a

Sahiwal

Volume (ml)

5.22±0.14b

5.16±0.10b

5.00±0.09c

4.75±0.28b

5.06±0.10c

Concentration (106/ml)

900.00±14.43d

875.00±14.43d

875.00±28.86d

825.00±14.43d

868.75±10.8d

% Motility

85.50±0.57d

83.00±0.86b

83.00±1.15c

82.50±0.28d

83.50±0.28d

FSC**

Volume (ml)

5.50±0.14b

5.50±0.12ab

5.25±0.28bc

5.00±0.14a

5.38±0.14c

Concentration (106/ml)

1200.0±28.86c

1200.0±57.73c

1150.0±28.86c

1125.0±14.43c

1168.8±18.1c

% Motility

90.00±0.28c

86.50±1.15a

85.00±0.28c

84.50±0.57c

86.53±0.43c

THI

83.68

84.75

85.22

86.16

84.95

a,b,c,d, means with different superscripts within the same column for the same parameter differ significantly (P<0.05) for different breeds. THI, Temperature and humidity index; FSC, Fresian Shiwal cross; THI, temperature and humidity index.

 

The results present in Table II describes the sperm secondary abnormality of different breeds of bulls at different weeks at high temperature and humidity showing that sperm secondary abnormality was significantly (P<0.05) high in FSC breed of bulls followed by Sahiwal, Friesian and Jersey breeds. The overall sperm secondary abnormality was also significantly (P<0.05) high in cross breed bulls as compare to other breeds in this study.

The ascorbic acid supplementation significantly (P<0.05) increased the volume of semen and sperm concentration in bulls. The highest volume of semen and sperm concentration was produced by the dose rate of 200 mg as compared to non-supplemented or low supplemented group as shown in Table III. The overall mean volume was also significantly high in the same group.

The result of the sperm concentration of different group of bulls at different weeks is given in Table III. The sperm concentration was significantly high (P<0.05) in all four weeks in group (C200) bulls as compare to all other groups in the study. The overall mean of sperm concentration was also significantly high in group (C 200) of bulls. However, Ascorbic acid supplementation didn’t influence live percent motility of sperm among different bull breeds (Table IV).

 

Table II.- Mean values of live percent and abnormalities percentage of sperm of different bull breeds at different temperature and humidity index (n=64).

Breed

Parameters

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Overall mean

Friesian

Live %

93.00±0.57a

91.50±0.28b

90.50±0.28b

90.50±0.28b

91.37±0.07b

ABN % (P)

5.50±0.28c

6.00±0.57c

6.00±0.57b

7.00±0.57bc

6.12±0.36c

ABN % (S)

13.50±0.28 c

13.50±0.86b

14.00±1.15a

15.00±0.57b

14.00±0.72b

Jersey

Live %

93.50±0.28b

92.50±0.28a

92.00±0.28a

90.50±0.57a

92.12±0.07a

ABN % (P)

3.00±00d

3.50±0.28d

5.50±0.28d

5.50±0.28d

4.37±0.07d

ABN % (S)

13.50±0.28c

13.50±0.57b

13.50±0.86a

13.00±0.28b

13.37±0.36b

Sahiwal

Live %

89.50±0.57c

89.50±0.28c

89.00±0.86b

89.00±0.57c

89.25±0.14d

ABN % (P)

7.50±0.28b

7.50±00b

9.00±0.57a

10.00±0.28b

8.50±0.14b

ABN % (S)

15.00±0.28b

15.50±0.57a

16.50±0.57a

17.00±0.86ab

16.00±0.14a

FSC

Live %

91.50±0.28b

90.50±0.75c

90.50±0.28b

89.00±0.28b

90.37±0.21bc

ABN % (P)

8.50±0.28a

10.50±0.28a

10.50±0.57a

11.00±0.86a

10.12±0.21a

ABN % (S)

15.50±0.28a

16.50±0.28a

17.50±0.28a

17.50±0.86a

16.75±0.28a

THI

83.68

84.75

85.22

86.16

84.95

a,b,c,d, means with different superscripts within the same column for the same parameter differ Significantly (P<0.05) for different breeds. ABN (P), primary abnormality; ABN (S), secondary abnormality; FSC, Fresian Sahiwal cross.

 

Table III.- Effect of different supplementations of ascorbic acid on mean values of semen traits of different bull breeds at different weeks (n=96).

Group

Parameters

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Overall mean

C 00

Volume (ml)

4.66±0.16b

4.83±0.16b

4.83±0.16b

5.06±0.06b

4.83±0.04b

Concentration (106/ml)

1266 .7±28.86b

1276.7±44.09b

1300.0±14.53b

1316.7±16.66b

1290.3±16.4b

% Motility

89.00±0.57a

89.66±1.20a

88.00±0.57a

88.66±0.33a

88.83±0.33a

C 50

Volume (ml)

5.50±0.28a

5.50±0.28a

5.50±0.28a

5.50±0.28a

5.50±0.14a

Concentration (106/ml)

1300.0±33.33ab

1300.0±28.86ab

1316.7±28.86b

1333.3±16.66b

1312.7±21.6b

% Motility

86.00±0.57a

88.00±0.57a

88.33±0.88a

89.33±0.66a

87.91±0.58a

C 100

Volume (ml)

5.50±0.28ab

5.50±0.28b

5.33±0.33ab

5.66±0.33b

5.50±0.14ab

Concentration (106/ml)

1300.0±28.86b

1300.3±16.66ab

1333.0±28.86b

1333.3±16.66b

1316.7±8.33b

% Motility

87.66±2.02a

87.66±0.33a

88.66±0.88a

89.33±0.66a

88.33±0.79a

C 200

Volume (ml)

5.66±0.28a

6.00±0.66a

6.00±0.57a

6.36±0.44a

6.01±0.49a

Concentration (106/ml)

1383.3±44.09a

1383.3±18.86a

1400.0±16.66a

1433.3±44.09a

1400.3±3.94a

% Motility

89.00±0.66a

88.66±0.66a

88.33±0.57a

88.33±0.33a

88.58±0.44a

a,b, means with different superscripts within the same column for the same parameter differ significantly (P<0.05)for different supplementation level. C 00, C50, C100 and C200 denote different vitamin C supplementation at rate of 0, 50, 100 and 200 mg/day of feed.

 

Table IV.- Effect of different levels of ascorbic acid on sperm live parentage, sperm primary and secondary abnormalities of different bull breeds (n=96) during different weeks.

Group

Parameters

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Overall mean

C 00

Live %

92.00±0.57

91.33±1.20

91.00±0.57a

90.66±0.33a

91.08±0.36a

ABN % (P)

9.66±0.88

8.00±0.66

7.33±0.33a

6.66±0.57a

7.33±0.36a

ABN % (S)

14.00±0.57

15.33±0.88

12.00±0.57a

11.33±0.88a

13.16±0.46a

C 50

Live %

91.33±0.88

93.33±1.33

94.00±1.15a

90.33±0.33a

91.41±0.36a

ABN % (P)

8.66±0.88

7.00±0.57

8.33±0.66a

5.33±0.33b

7.20±0.16ab

ABN % (S)

13.66±1.76

13.00±0.57

12.00±o.57a

11.33±0.66a

12.50±0.76a

C 100

Live %

93.00±0.57

90.33±0.33

92.00±1.15a

90.33±0.33a

91.16±0.30a

ABN % (P)

8.33±0.33

6.33±0.33

8.33±0.33a

5.33±0.33b

7.18±0.22ab

ABN % (S)

13.66±0.88

13.33±0.88

13.66±0.88a

12.00±0.57a

13.16±0.08a

C 200

Live %

93.00±1.00

91.00±0.57

92.00±0.57a

91.33±0.33a

91.75±0.14a

ABN % (P)

9.33±0.88

7.66±0.33

6.33±0.33b

6.00±0.57b

7.16±0.22b

ABN % (S)

14.00±1.15

14.00±0.57

12.00±0.57a

11.33±0.33a

12.83±o.16a

Values with different superscripts within the same column differ significantly (P<0.05) for different supplementation levels. C00, C50, C100 and C200 represent 0, 5, 100 and 200 mg/feed day. ABN (P), primary abnormality; ABN (S), secondary abnormality.

 

Table V.- Mean values of different semen parameters of different bull breeds under variable body condition score (n=64).

Breed

BCS

Volume (ml)

Concent. (106/ml)

% Motility

Live %

% ABN (P)

% ABN (S)**

Friesian

3.25

6.05±0.21

1350±20.41

87.75±1.10

91.00±0.40

7.00±0.40

15.25±0.47

3.50

5.77±0.27

1325±32.27

88.25±1.31

92.00±0.81

6.50±0.28

15.50±0.64

Jersey

3.25

6.05±0.21

1687.5±23.93

89.25±1.43

91.25±0.62

4.25±0.25

12.00±0.40

3.75

5.65±0.11

1650.0±35.35

88.75±1.03

89.00±0.40

4.25±0.62

12.00±0.70

Sahiwal

3.00

5.30±0.28

837.50±23.93

82.75±0.47

88.75±0.47

5.75±0.47

12.50±0.50

3.25

5.00±0.14

837.50±12.50

84.50±0.50

87.50±0.28

6.50±0.86

13.50±0.00

FSC

3.00

5.60±0.07

1237.5±12.50

85.25±1.49

87.50±1.32

9.75±0.47

17.25±0.47

3.5

5.57±0.13

1237.5±37.50

83.50±2.21

89.00±0.90

8.50±0.28

17.75±0.47

Mean values within the same column for the same parameters are not significantly different (P>0.05). BCS, body score condition; ABN (P), primary abnormality; ABN (S), secondary abnormality; FSC, Friesian Sahiwal cross.

 

The results revealed in Table IV that there was non-significant (P>0.05) difference in live percentage of sperm in different groups of bulls with different levels of ascorbic acid supplementation. Furthermore, primary abnormality in sperm among different bull breeds during various weeks was significantly higher (P<0.05) in control group while secondary abnormalities remained unaffected among treatments.

The different semen parameters like semen volume and concentration and percent motility and live percentage, primary abnormality and secondary abnormality of sperm of different bull breeds at various weeks were not significantly affected by variable body condition score (Table V).

 

Discussion

High environmental temperature has negative effects on fertility of bulls. In a previous study, it was reported that Holstein Friesian bulls are mostly affected by heat stress as compared to other breeds (Garacia et al., 2005). In the present study, sperm concentration was significantly higher in Jersey bulls compared to other breeds. This is in agreement with findings of Ahmad et al. (1993) and Shaha et al. (2008) who also found higher concentration of sperm in Jersey bulls. Similarly, in the present study, Jersey bulls also had lesser primary and secondary abnormalities in comparison with other bull breeds. While FSC bulls had significantly higher primary and secondary sperm abnormalities, which might be linked with its genetic disturbance and imbalance. It was also observed that live percentage and percent motility of sperm was significantly high in Jersey bull breed and high dead sperm ratio was found in Sahiwal breed. The high concentration of sperm, less dead percentage of sperm, high motility and lesser primary and secondary abnormality in sperm of Jersey breed showed that Jersey breed is lighter and very favorable for the subtropical environment. According to the breeding policy in Pakistan, the semen of Jersey breed is suitable for local cattle breeds.

In the current study, the semen volume was significantly increased and the sperm primary abnormalities were decreased in the ascorbic acid supplemented groups of bulls. Yousef et al. (2003) also observed similar pattern of semen volume with ascorbic acid treatment in rabbits. Similarly, higher sperm concentration was found in bulls at ascorbic acid level of C200. Dawson et al. (1987) also found significantly higher sperm concentration in human with higher level of ascorbic acid. Interestingly, sperm motility, live percentage of sperm and sperm abnormalities were not influenced by ascorbic acid treatment.

Animals with high BCS have highest sperm reserve count as well as sperm count (Salisbury et al., 1978). In the present study, all the semen parameters mentioned above at different weeks under variable BCS of different breeds’ bulls were not significantly different. Our results are in contrast with the results of Salisbary et al. (1978). The reason could be that we have collected data from semen processing unit, where all high quality semen producing animals were kept and the difference among the body condition score were not high. All the animals kept in SPU were healthy and there were no weak or obese animals which could not make any statistically difference in the semen traits.

 

Conclusion

Ascorbic acid should be supplemented to all bulls used for artificial insemination to improve the semen quantitative and qualitative characteristics under heat stress. The body condition score within range of (3-3.75) had no significance effect on semen traits. Jersey breed of cattle is the best adapted summer stressed breed.

 

Statement of conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

 

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