Daily exposure to summer circadian cycles affects spermatogenesis, but not fertility in an in vivo rabbit model

Maria Sabés-Alsina, Núria Planell, Elen Torres-Mejia, Ester Taberner, Maria José Maya-Soriano, Llibertat Tusell, Josep Ramon, Antoni Dalmau, Miriam Piles, Manel Lopez-Bejar

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10 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Heat stress (HS) in mammals is a determining factor in the deterioration of spermatogenesis and can cause infertility. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of continuous summer circadian cycles on semen production, sperm cell features, fertility, prolificacy, and fecal cortisol metabolites from rabbits kept under an invivo HS model. We split randomly 60 New Zealand White rabbits into two temperature-controlled rooms: The control group was maintained at comfort temperature (18°C-22°C) and an HS group, where the environmental temperature was programmed to increase from 22°C to 31°C and be maintained for 3hours to this temperature at the central part of the day. Fecal cortisol metabolites were assessed to evaluate the stress conditions. Seminal parameters were analyzed. Although animals exposed to HS showed higher values of fecal cortisol metabolites (P=0.0003), no differences were detected in fertility or prolificacy. Semen samples from HS males showed a significant decrease (P<0.05) with respect to the controls in the percentage of viable spermatozoa (80.71% vs. 74.21%), and a significant (P≤0.01) increase in the percentage of acrosomic abnormalities (22.57% vs. 36.96%) and tailless spermatozoa (7.91% vs. 12.83). Among motility parameters, no differences were found. This study describes a model of HS simulating a continuous summer daily cycle that allows periods of time to recover as it occurs under natural conditions. Although negative effects have been detected in several sperm parameters, fertility and prolificacy were not affected, suggesting a recovery of the reproductive function when normal conditions are reestablished.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-252
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2015


  • Acrosome/ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Circadian Rhythm/physiology
  • Feces/chemistry
  • Fertility/physiology
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydrocortisone/analysis
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Rabbits
  • Seasons
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatogenesis/physiology
  • Spermatozoa/abnormalities


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