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Animal. 2018 Mar;12(3):559-568. doi: 10.1017/S1751731117001811. Epub 2017 Jul 24.

Age-related differences of semen quality, seminal plasma, and spermatozoa antioxidative and oxidative stress variables in bulls during cold and warm periods of the year.

Author information

1Clinic of Obstetrics and Reproduction,Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb,Heinzelova 55,10000 Zagreb,Croatia.
2Department of Physiology and Radiobiology,Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb,Heinzelova 55,10000 Zagreb,Croatia.
3Center for Reproduction and Animal Breeding of Croatia,Bani 83,10000 Zagreb,Croatia.
4Veterinary Practice Ðurđevac,Malinov trg 7,48350 Ðurđevac,Croatia.
5Department of Animal Nutrition and Dietetics,Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb,Heinzelova 55,10000 Zagreb,Croatia.
6Belupo,Danica 5,48000 Koprivnica,Croatia.


The aims of this study were to determine the presence and quantities of antioxidative status and oxidative stress (OS) variables in the seminal plasma and spermatozoa of bulls of varying age during cold and warm periods of the year, and to establish the correlation of these variables with semen quality parameters. The study was conducted on two groups each comprising nine Simmental bulls: one group contained younger animals (aged 2 to 4 years) and the second older animals (aged 5 to 10 years). Semen samples were collected using an artificial vagina for biochemical analysis. Seminal plasma and spermatozoa activities of total superoxide dismutase (TSOD), manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), catalase (CAT), selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase, reduced glutathione and concentrations of total protein (TP), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and protein carbonyl content (PCC) were determined. Several antioxidants in seminal plasma were also determined: total glutathione peroxidase (TGSH-Px), selenium-independent glutathione peroxidase (Non-SeGSH-Px), uric acid, albumins (ALB) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Significantly higher spermatozoa motility was observed during the cold v. warm period, and a significantly higher volume and total number of spermatozoa per ejaculate was observed in older than in younger bulls. Significantly higher values of ALP, TP and ALB were found in seminal plasma of older bulls than in younger bulls during the warm period. The seminal plasma of younger bulls showed significantly higher activities of TSOD, MnSOD, CuZnSOD, TGSH-Px and Non-SeGSH-Px. Younger bulls had significantly higher PCC concentration and activity of CAT in seminal plasma than older bulls during the cold period. Significantly higher concentrations of PCC and TBARS, and activities of TSOD, MnSOD and CuZnSOD were established in spermatozoa of the younger than in older bulls during the warm period. It could be concluded that antioxidative and OS variables differ significantly depending on bull age and time of year. Younger bulls were more sensitive to elevated ambient temperatures during the warm period, when the higher enzymatic antioxidative protection in seminal plasma and spermatozoa were insufficient to counteract the intensive oxidative processes in spermatozoa, which eventually resulted in decreased spermatozoa motility. The estimation of antioxidative and OS variables in seminal plasma and spermatozoa may have practical value for the assessment of bull semen quality.


age; antioxidative/oxidative status; breeding bulls; period of the year; semen

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