Objectives: Studies in many species indicate that variation of spermatozoan head morphology is a sensitive biomarker for abnormal chromatin structure and resultant clinical fertility. This preliminary study evaluated spermatozoan head morphometry in different dog breeds and assessed whether morphometric parameters could reflect spermatozoan DNA fragmentation in dogs.Methods: Spermatozoan morphometry and DNA quality (measured by TUNEL flow cytometry) were assessed in semen from 11 dogs of three Italian breeds (Cirneco dell'Etna, Piccolo Levriero Italiano and Segugio Maremmano).Results: Morphometric data showed that Segugio dogs had significantly larger (33.67%) spermatozoa and that Piccolo Levrieros had a higher incidence of long (46.75%) and elliptical spermatozoan heads (11.5%) when compared with the samples from other breeds. Moreover, the predominance of elliptical spermatozoa in one dog (23%) was significantly related to the percentage of spermatozoa with fragmented DNA (12.6%), whereas in another dog, where no more than 1% of spermatozoa was elliptical, only 0.36% of spermatozoa had damaged DNA. It is noteworthy that the breeding record of the former dog in the previous 12 months showed poor fertility and fecundity.Clinical Significance: These data suggest that spermatozoan head morphometry could be breed related and that there is a significant correlation between DNA fragmentation and elliptical spermatozoa in individual animals. This finding, albeit limited in our study to a single case, is possibly related to clinical infertility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Small Animals