Infertility in a beef bull due to a failure in the capacitation process.

Research paper by C C Lessard, L G LG Siqueira, O O D'Amours, R R Sullivan, P P Leclerc, C C Palmer

Indexed on: 28 Jun '11Published on: 28 Jun '11Published in: Theriogenology


The objective of this case report was to identify the cause of apparent idiopathic infertility in a Red Angus (beef) bull. Semen was collected by electroejaculation and submitted to a series of assays, including evaluation of sperm motility by computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA), sperm morphology and DNA integrity, semen cryopreservation, AI, IVF, induction of the acrosome reaction, and determination of the level of sperm proteins associated with bull fertility potential. Total (92 ± 2%) and progressive (79 ± 4%) sperm motility; sperm concentration (1647 ± 429 × 10(6) sperm/mL); proportions of morphologically normal sperm (83 ± 6%) and DNA integrity (96 ± 2), and acrosome-intact sperm (64 ± 4%) exceeded minimum acceptable values. Frozen sperm had good total (58.7 ± 6.7%) and progressive (43.9 ± 9.2%) motility immediately after thawing. However, AI of 16 heifers resulted in no pregnancies and blastocyst production rate (following IVF using sperm from this infertile bull) was nearly identical to that produced using dead sperm (a control of parthenogenesis; 2 ± 2 and 2 ± 3%; respectively P < 0.05). Treatment with a calcium ionophore (A23187) failed to induce the acrosome reaction in sperm from the infertile bull (P < 0.05). Evaluation of several proteins associated with the fertility potential of bulls revealed that the level of Binder Sperm Protein-1 (BSP1), known to be associated with the capacitation process, was much greater on sperm from the infertile bull compared to that of his sire. In conclusion, we inferred that the idiopathic infertility in this bull was caused by a failure to complete the capacitation process.