alexa Role of testosterone and photoperiod on seasonal changes in horn growth and sperm variables in the Iberian ibex, a model for polygynous wild bovids
Veterinary Sciences

Veterinary Sciences

Research & Reviews: Journal of Zoological Sciences

Author(s): SantiagoMoreno J, GmezBrunet A, ToledanoDaz A, SalasVega R, GmezGuillamn F

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This work examines the effect of testosterone secretion and photoperiod on seasonal changes in horn growth and sperm variables in the Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica), here used as a model for polygynous wild bovids. The hypothesis that high levels of testosterone provide an endocrine signal that inhibits horn growth in autumn was tested by assessing the effect of cyproterone acetate (CA), an anti-androgen, administered in October - coinciding with the period of natural increases in plasma testosterone concentrations - under different photoperiodic conditions (natural photoperiod and artificial long days). The persistence of horn growth during autumn in all ibexes held under the long-day photoperiodic conditions clearly shows that horn growth regulation in the mating season is primarily modulated by day length and not by a fall in testosterone concentration. A retrospectively designed second experiment involving testosterone propionate (TP) administration in April (when horns are growing) was then undertaken to confirm that high levels of testosterone do not inhibit horn growth. Overall, the results strongly suggest that the rise in testosterone secretion during the autumn mating season does not act as an endocrine signal for the arrest of horn growth, although the rate of horn growth before the mating season may be related to springtime testosterone levels. A direct relationship was seen between the rate of horn growth and the incidence of sperm abnormalities. Neither CA treatment in October nor TP administration in April affected the studied sperm variables. By contrast, CA treatment plus artificial long days in autumn had a negative effect on sperm motility and sperm morphology.

This article was published in J. Endocrinol and referenced in Research & Reviews: Journal of Zoological Sciences

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