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Theriogenology. 2010 Oct 1;74(6):956-67. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2010.04.025. Epub 2010 Jun 30.

Biomarkers of in vivo fertility in sperm and seminal plasma of fertile stallions.

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Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-10 Ag/For Centre, University of Alberta, T6G 2P5, Canada.


The global proteome of sperm and seminal plasma of fertile stallions was investigated to determine whether associations with relative in vivo fertility exist. Seven stallions at stud in a commercial breeding station were collected throughout the breeding season and bred to a total of 164 mares to determine conception rates. On three occasions during the breeding season, raw semen was obtained from a regular collection for proteomic analysis using two-dimensional electrophoresis and also assessed for routine semen quality end points. First cycle conception rate was negatively related to ejaculate volume (r = -0.43, P = 0.05) and total IGF1 content (ng) per ejaculate (r = -0.58, P = 0.006), whereas overall pregnancy rate was positively related to sperm concentration (r = 0.56, P = 0.01). The abundance of three proteins known to be involved in carbohydrate metabolism in sperm was positively related to fertility. Furthermore, the abundance of four seminal plasma proteins were identified as being negatively related to fertility; these were identified as kallikrein-1E2 (KLK2), clusterin, and seminal plasma proteins 1 (SP1) and 2 (SP2). Abundance of cysteine-rich secretory protein 3 (CRISP3) was positively related to first cycle conception rate (r = 0.495, P = 0.027) and may provide a good marker of fertility. Based on stepwise regression analysis, clusterin and SP1 in seminal plasma together with sperm citrate synthase were predictive of fertility (r = 0.77, P < 0.0001). This study identified proteins within sperm and seminal plasma that could serve as biomarkers of semen quality and fertility in stallions.

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