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Theriogenology. 1995 May;43(7):1269-77.

Seminal quality and sperm production in beef bulls with chronic dietary vitamin A deficiency and subsequent re-alimentation.

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Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, P. O. Box 3000, Main, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1J 4B1.


Sixteen Hereford bulls (16 mo of age, 462 kg average body weight) were used in each of 2 yr to evaluate the effects of hypovitaminosis A on seminal quality and sperm production. Bulls were fed a high-concentrate diet with (+VIT) or without (-VIT) supplemental Vitamin A until the apparent onset of hypovitaminosis A (28 and 32 wk in Year 1 and 2, respectively). Half of the bulls on each treatment were then slaughtered and those remaining were re-alimented with Vitamin A. Plasma retinol concentration in -VIT bulls reached a nadir at approximately 25 wk. In Year 1, the proportion of progressively motile spermatozoa was lower in -VIT bulls after 17 wk but returned to that of the +VIT group after re-alimentation. The proportion of spermatozoa with primary morphological defects appeared to be greater in -VIT bulls compared to +VIT bulls by 26 and 24 wk in Year 1 and 2, respectively. The incidence of these defects declined in -VIT bulls upon re-alimentation, and approached the incidence observed in +VIT bulls by 8 to 12 wk of re-alimentation. Hypovitaminosis A decreased paired testes weight, daily sperm production, and epididymal sperm reserves but did not affect daily gain. Prolonged dietary Vitamin A deficiency impaired semen quality and sperm production in the absence of other clinical symptoms. However, under practical feeding conditions, diets that result in long-term, marginal Vitamin A deficiency or a relatively short-term absence of Vitamin A intake probably would have minimal effects on spermatogenesis.


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