High temperatures have negative effects on sperm quality leading to temporary or permanent sterility. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of long exposure to summer circadian heat stress cycles on sperm parameters and the motile subpopulation structure of epididymal sperm cells from rabbit bucks. Twelve White New Zealand rabbit bucks were exposed to a daily constant temperature of the thermoneutral zone (from 18 °C to 22 °C; control group) or exposed to a summer circadian heat stress cycles (30 °C, 3 h/day; heat stress group). Spermatozoa were flushed from the epididymis and assessed for sperm quality parameters at recovery. Sperm total motility and progressivity were negatively affected by high temperatures (P < 0.05), as were also specific motility parameters (curvilinear velocity, linear velocity, mean velocity, straightness coefficient, linearity coefficient, wobble coefficient, and frequency of head displacement; P < 0.05, but not the mean amplitude of lateral head displacement). Heat stress significantly increased the percentage of less-motile sperm subpopulations, although the percentage of the highmotile subpopulation was maintained, which is consistent with the fact that no effect was detected on fertility rates. However, prolificacy was reduced in females submitted to heat stress when inseminated by control bucks. In conclusion, our results suggest that environmental high temperatures are linked to changes in the proportion of motile sperm subpopulations of the epididymis, although fertility is still preserved despite the detrimental effects of heat stress. On the other hand, prolificacy seems to be affected by the negative effects of high temperatures, especially by altering female reproduction.
|Original language||American English|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
- Motile sperm subpopulation
- Summer circadian heat stress cycle