The effect of heat stress on bull sperm quality and related HSPs expression

in Animal Biology
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Heat stress dramatically decreases bull sperm quality and has recently received more attention due to the warmer global climate and more intensive production. However, no data exist regarding sperm quality or the related molecular mechanisms under heat stress. Recent studies showed that inducible heat shock proteins (HSPs) play an important role in the dairy heat stress regulation. In this article, to investigate the impacts of heat stress on sperm quality and the associated molecular mechanisms, sperm quality and enzyme activities concerning acrosome reaction were assessed in Simmental, Limousin and Yanbian bulls under heat stress. Subsequently, changes in heat shock protein expression profiles of Simmental bulls were observed, because we observed that sperm quality of these bulls was most sensitive to heat stress. Finally, the relationship between sperm quality and heat shock protein expression under heat stress was analyzed. The results show that summer heat stress decreased the sperm quality of the three bull breeds significantly. Moreover, different levels of heat stimulation induced various enzyme activity changes, among which the activity change in acrosomal enzyme was the most remarkable. Furthermore, the expression of heat shock proteins in the sperm was influenced by the imposed heat stress, among which the expression levels of HSP60 and HSP70 were increased while HSP90 decreased. In summary, our data show that heat stress seriously affects sperm quality and that HSP90 was most sensitive, although it should be noted that seasonal effects may confound these results. This change in heat shock protein expression may be the major factor that affected the sperm quality of the bulls. The findings may provide a new hypothesis for how heat stress impacts reproduction mechanistically.

The effect of heat stress on bull sperm quality and related HSPs expression

in Animal Biology



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    Effect of heat stress on the acrosomal integrity rate (A), the motility (B), the abnormal rate of sperm (C) and the sperm concentration (D). Standard error bars are shown. Symbols: , P<0.05 compared with the non-heat stress group; ∗∗, P<0.01 compared with the non-heat stress group.

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    Effect of heat stress on the activity of ACE (A), ACP (B), LDH (C) and HYD (D) in bull sperm. Standard error bars are shown. Symbols: , P<0.05 compared with the non-heat stress group; ∗∗, P<0.01 compared with the non-heat stress group.

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    Effect of heat stress on HSP60, HSP70 and HSP90 expression of Simmental bull spermatozoa at the transcriptional and translational levels. (A) qRT-PCR analysis of HSP60, HSP70 and HSP90 mRNA expression in non-heat stress group and heat stress groups. (B) Western blotting analysis of HSP60, HSP70 and HSP90 in non-heat stress group and heat stress groups. (C) The analysis of relative density (fold of beta-actin) of HSP60, HSP70 and HSP90 expression in non-heat stress and heat stress groups. Standard error bars are shown. Symbols: , P<0.05 compared with the non-heat stress group.

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    Analysis of the correlation between HSP changes and sperm quality after heat stress. HSP90 was positively correlated with the motility of sperm (r=0.869, P<0.05) (A), the acrosomal integrity rate of sperm (r=0.681, P<0.05) (B) and the activity of ACE (r=0.722, P<0.05) (C), but was negatively correlated with the rate of abnormalities (r=0.714, P<0.05) (D). HSP60 had a negative correlation with sperm concentration (r=0.624, P<0.05) (E). Standard error bars are shown.

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