Tropical summer induces sperm DNA damage in boars which can be mitigated by antioxidant therapy

Peña, Santiago T., Gummow, Bruce, Parker, Anthony J., and Paris, Damien B.B.P. (2016) Tropical summer induces sperm DNA damage in boars which can be mitigated by antioxidant therapy. In: Abstracts from the Annual Conference of the Society for Reproductive Biology. 458. From: 47th Annual Conference of the Society for Reproductive Biology, 21-24 August 2016, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

PDF (Abstract Only) - Published Version
Download (94kB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Summer infertility due to heat stress grossly affects reproductive performance in pigs, particularly in the tropics, and causes over $300 million in annual losses to the US swine industry. Boar's inefficient capacity to sweat; non-pendulous scrotum and the high susceptibility of boar sperm to temperature shock makes this species particularly vulnerable to heat stress. While traditionally considered a sow problem, recent studies demonstrate that heat stress-induced sperm DNA damage can result in early embryo loss in mice. Our study aimed to demonstrate higher sperm DNA damage during summer in boars and trial antioxidant therapy to alleviate the problem.

Motility of sperm obtained from n=5 Large White boars housed in the dry tropics of Townsville, North Queensland, Australia was characterized by Computer-Assisted Sperm Analysis (CASA), but did not differ between spring, summer and winter (total motility: 70.8 ± 5.5% vs. 71.3 ± 8.1% vs. 90.2 ± 4.2%; progressive motility: 41.7 ± 2.8% vs. 35.4 ± 7.0% vs. 46.6 ± 4.0% respectively, both P ≥ 0.05). However, sperm DNA integrity in twenty-thousand spermatozoa per boar per treatment, evaluated using TUNEL staining and flow cytometry, revealed nearly 9-fold higher DNA damage in summer than spring and winter (16.1 ± 4.8% vs. 1.8 ± 0.5% vs 1.1 ± 0.2% respectively; P ≤ 0.05). However, boar feed supplemented with antioxidants during summer significantly reduced sperm DNA damage to 9.9 ± 4.5% and 7.2 ± 1.6% (P ≤ 0.05) after 42 and 84 days treatment respectively. Total and progressive motility were not altered by the supplement.

Our results show sperm DNA integrity is compromised in boars during summer, suggesting boar factors may contribute to embryo loss in sows. Moreover, such damage may go undetected using traditional measures of sperm motility. Antioxidant supplementation during summer alleviates the negative impact of heat stress on sperm DNA integrity.

Item ID: 48355
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Keywords: boar; sperm; pig; DNA damage; summer infertility; heat stress; antioxidant
Funders: AusAID, James Cook University (JCU)
Projects and Grants: Australian Awards Scholarship, JCU Development Grant
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 02:37
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0702 Animal Production > 070206 Animal Reproduction @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060103 Cell Development, Proliferation and Death @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060602 Animal Physiology - Cell @ 20%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830308 Pigs @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies @ 25%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 25%
Downloads: Total: 57
Last 12 Months: 7
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page