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Anim Reprod Sci. 1998 May 15;51(3):215-24.

Morphologic, endocrine and thermographic measurements of testicles in comparison with semen characteristics in mature Holstein-Friesian breeding bulls.

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  • 1Research Institute for Animal Breeding and Nutrition, Herceghalom, Hungary.


Twenty Holstein-Friesian breeding bulls (62-79 months of age) were examined 3 times, at 30-day intervals. Scrotal thermograms for assessment of scrotal surface temperature (SST) and blood samples for plasma testosterone concentrations were taken just before and then 45 and 90 min, respectively, after treatment with GnRH (50 micrograms, Gonavet, i.m. per bull). Following GnRH treatment, there generally were significant increases in mean values of both top SST (range, -0.1 to 1.4 degrees C) and bottom SST (range, 0.3 to 1.8 degrees C). Scrotal circumference was highly repeatable but SST and video-measurements of scrotal dimensions were less repeatable, because apparently they were affected by ambient temperature. Plasma testosterone concentrations before GnRH treatment were more repeatable than those after GnRH treatment. Correlations between examinations of 0.67 to 0.81 and -0.14 to 0.47, respectively, but the converse was true for SST measurements. Semen was collected with an artificial vagina 3 times per week for 12 weeks starting 2 weeks before the first examination. The total number of spermatozoa per ejaculate was highly repeatable and the percentage of motile and live spermatozoa were relatively consistent. Separate regressions for each variable and for each examination were conducted for these 3 semen characteristics as dependent variables. For the number of spermatozoa per ejaculate and for the percentage of motile spermatozoa, significant independent variables were plasma testosterone concentrations and difference between top and bottom SST, respectively. The slopes of these equations were nearly all negative and the R2 was from 0.15 to 0.42. For prediction of the percentage of live spermatozoa, both SST gradient and plasma testosterone concentrations were significant independent variables. For these regressions, the slopes were negative and the regression coefficients were generally lower than for the other 2 dependent variables (range, 0.16 to 0.25). Treatment with GnRH and assessment of SST and plasma testosterone concentrations have some correlation with the semen production in the mature bull.

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