Environmental and Genetic Factors Affecting on Semen Quality in Iranian Holstein Bulls

Document Type: Research Article


Department of Animal Science, Shabestar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shabestar, Iran


The objective of this study was to evaluate the importance of environmental and genetic factors affecting semen quality; sperm volume (SV), sperm concentration (SPCO), total sperm (TS), fresh sperm motility (FSM), total fresh motile sperm (TFMS), post thaw sperm motility (PTSM), total post thaw motile sperm (TPTMS), number of produced payout (NPP), number of fresh motile sperm in each milt ejaculation (NFMSE), motility before and after the freezing (MBATF) and number of post thaw motile sperm in each milt ejaculation (NPTMSE). We used polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) in 83 bulls belonging to two progeny test centers. The BB genotype was omitted from analysis.Season of collection had a significant effect on sperm volume (SV)(P<0.006), sperm concentration (SPCO)(P<0.0038), fresh sperm motility (FSM)(P<0.0001), post thaw sperm motility (PTSM)(P<0.001), total post thaw motile sperm (TPTMS)(P<0.0075), number of produced payout (NPP)(P<0.0247), number of fresh motile sperm in each milt ejaculation (NFMSE)(P<0.0012) and motility before and after the freezing (MBATF)(P<0.0001) but did not significantly affect TS (P<0.438), total post thaw motile sperm (TPTMS)(P<0.3606) and number of post thaw motile sperm in each milt ejaculation (NPTMSE)(P<0.1106). The interaction of seasons with follicle-stimulating hormone and semen quality traits only significantly affect sperm volume (SV)(P<0.0435), sperm concentration (SPCO)(P<0.008) and number of produced payout (NPP)(P<0.0119). Genetics and environmental factors clearly contribute to semen production in Holstein bulls.


Almquist J.O., Branas R.J. and Barber K.A. (1976). Postpubertal changes in semen production of Charolais bulls ejaculated at high frequency and the relation between testicular measurements and sperm output. J. Anim. Sci. 42, 670-676.
Anchieta M.C., Filho V.R., Colosimo E., Sampaio I.B.M. and Andrade V.J. (2005). Semen discarded and freezing ability of Zebu and European bulls from a Brazilian artificial insemination centre. Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. 57, 196-204.
Asmat M.T. (2002). Studies on factors affecting the semen quality of Sahiwal bulls. MS Thesis. Vet. Anim. Sci. Univ., Lahore, Pakistan.
Castillo E., Tizol G., Alvarez J.L., Perez M. and Baez R. (1987). Reduction of the protein concentrate level in the ration for Holstein sires 1. Effect on semen quality. Cuban J. Agric. Sci. 21, 247-251.
Chemineau P. (1994). Medioambiente y reproduction animal. Rev. Mund. Zootech. 77, 2-14.
Dai L., Zhao Z., Zhao R. and Xiao S. (2009). Effects of novel single nucleotide polymorphisms of the FSH beta-subunit gene on semen quality and fertility in bulls. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 114, 14-22.‌
Everett R.W. and Bean B. (1982). Environmental influences on semen output. J. Dairy Sci. 65, 1303-1310.
Everett R.W., Bean B. and Foote R.H. (1978). Sources of variation of semen output. J. Dairy Sci. 61, 90-95.
Falconer D.S. and Mackay T.F.C. (1996). Introduction to Quantitative Genetics. Longman Group Ltd, Essex, England.
Fawzy S.A. and Rabie Z.B.H. (1996). Effect of solar radiation on body reaction and semen characteristics of young Friesian bulls. Ann. Agric. Sci. 34, 569-582.
Fields M.J., Burns W.C. and Warnick A.C. (1979). Age, season and breed effects on testicular volume and semen traits in young beef bulls. J. Anim. Sci. 48, 1299-1304.
Fonseca V.O. (1995). Seasonal effects on semen characteristics and scrotal circumference in Nelore bulls in Brazil. Brazili Reprod. Anim. 17, 135-145.
Fuente L.F., Sanchez Garcia L. and Vallejo M. (1984). Reproductive characters in Galician Blonds. I. Characters of semen used for artificial insemination. Anal. Fac. Vet. Leon. 30, 119-125.
Graffer T., Solbu H. and Filseth O. (1988). Semen production in artificial insemination bulls in Norway. Theriogenology. 30, 1011-1021.
Howles C.M. (2000). Role of LH and FSH in ovarian function. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 161, 25-30.
Igboeli G. and Raka A.M. (1971). Seasonal changes in the ejaculate characteristics of Angoni (short horn zebu) bulls. J. Anim. Sci. 33, 651-654.
Javed M.T., Khan A. and Kausar R. (2000). Effect of age and season on some semen parameters of Nili-Ravi buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) bulls. Vet. Arch. 70, 83-94.
Johnston J.E., Naelapaa H. and Frye J.B. (1963). Physiological responses of Holstein, Brown Swiss and Red Sindhi crossbreed bulls exposed to high temperatures and humidity. J Anim. Sci. 22, 432-436.
Kumi Diaka J., Nagaratnam V. and Rwuaan J.S. (1981). Seasonal and age-related changes in semen quality and testicular morphology of bulls in a tropical environment. Vet. Rec. 108, 13-15.
Li JunjieRunzi S., Shujun T., Xiuying Z., Sang R.Z., Tian S.J. and Zhao X.Y. (2001). Influence of heat stress on semen quality and serum biochemical index of breeding beef bulls. J. Hebei. Agric. Univ. 25, 71-75.
Mathevon M., Buhr M.M. and Dekkers J.C.M. (1998). Environmental, management and genetic factors affecting semen production in Holstein bulls. J. Dairy Sci. 81, 3321-3330.
McGee E.A. and Hsueh A.J. (2000). Initial and cyclic recruitment of ovarian follicles. Endocrinol. Rev. 21, 200-214.
Mostari M.P., Hasnat M., Azmal S.A., Munira K.N. and Khatun H. (2005). Effect of seasonal variation on semen quality and herd fertility. Pakistan J. Biol. Sci. 8, 581-585.
Moudgal N.R. and Sairam M.R. (1998). Is there a true requirement for follicle stimulating hormone in promoting spermatogenesis and fertility in primates? Hum. Reprod. 13, 916-919.
Moyle W.R. and Campbell R.K. (1996). Gonadotropins.Pp. 684-724 in Reproductive Endocrinology, Surgery and Technology. E.Y. Adashi, J.A. Rock and Z. Rosenwaks, Eds. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven Publishers, New York, YK.
Plant T.M. and Marshall G.R. (2001). The functional significance of FSH in spermatogenesis and the control of its secretion in male primates. Endocrinol. Rev. 22, 764-786.
Rekwot P.I., Voh Jr., Oyedipe E.O., Opaluwa G.I., Sekoni V.O. and Dawuda P.M. (1987). Influence of season on characteristics of the ejaculate from bulls in an artificial insemination center in Nigeria. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 14, 187-194.
Rustenev A.P. (1989). Reproductive ability and quality of progeny of improver bulls. Byull. Vses. Nauch. Issled. Inst. Razveden. Genet. Sel’ Skokhozyaistvennykh Zhivotnykh. 109, 30-32.
Sarder M.J.U. (2007). Environment related variations in the semen characteristics of bulls used for artificial insemination (AI) programme in Bangladesh. Univ. J. Zool. Rajshahi. 26, 81-88.
Schwab W., Kupferschmied H. and Bachmann P. (1987). Factors affecting semen production in bulls. Zuchthygiene. 22, 241-246.
Shannon P. and Vishwanath R. (1995). The effect of optimal and suboptimal concentrations of sperm on the fertility of freshand frozen bovine semen and a theoretical model to explain the fertility differences. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 39, 1-10.
Siratskii I.Z. (1990). Inheritance of reproductive ability of bulls. Tsitol. Genet. 24, 28-34.
Skinner J.D. and Louw G.N. (1966). Heat stress and spermatogenesis in Bos indicus and Bos taurus cattle. J. Appl. Physiol. 21, 1784-1790.
Stalhammar E.M., Janson L. and Philipsson J. (1989). Genetic studies on fertility in AI. bulls. I. Age, season and genetic effects on semen characteristics in young bulls. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 19, 1-17.
Stalhammar E.M., Janson L. and Philipsson J. (1988). Genetic and environmental studies on semen characteristics and fertility in young AI. bulls. Pp. 576-580 in Proc. 6th Wld. Conf., Anim. Prod. Helsinki. Finland.
Usmani R.H., Shah S.K. and Zafar A.H. (1993). Seasonal effect on semen producing ability of Holstein Friesian and crossbred bulls under sub tropical environment of Punjab. Pakistan Vet. J. 13, 133-137.
Wolfenson D., Roth Z. and Meidan R. (2000). Impaired reproduction in heat-stressed cattle: basic and applied aspects. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 60, 535-547.
Zafar A.H., Ahmad N. and Shah S.K. (1988). Effect of seasonal variations on semen production of Nili-Ravi buffalo bulls. Buff. J. 1, 61-68.