Development of Semen Quality Following Reversible Downregulation of Testicular Function in Male Dogs with a GnRH Agonist Implant

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ContentsSlow-release GnRH agonist implants have shown to be an effective and reversible alternative to surgical castration. Testicular function is downregulated with an arrest of spermatogenesis on the level of spermatogonia/primary spermatocytes but is fully restored after abolition of downregulation. Aim of this study was to assess the quality of ejaculates after active abolishment of downregulation by implant removal and to follow recrudescence of spermatogenesis. Five dogs – which served as their own controls – were treated with a slow-release implant containing the GnRH agonist azagly-nafarelin. Implants were removed during full downregulation (testosterone <0.1 ng/ml), and attempts to collect ejaculates started from week 4 onwards to week 29. First ejaculates could be obtained between weeks 8 and 12 with the first fully elongated spermatozoa observed in week 10. Volume, %motility and total sperm count increased and %pathomorphology decreased during the course of the study with all ejaculates being in the normal range by week 29. Our data indicate that onset of recrudescence of spermatogenesis coincides with the first testosterone increase after active abolishment of downregulation. Semen quality was fully regained with a significant improvement of %pathomorphology (p < 0.05) and a tendency of improved %motility. However, these observations on an improved semen quality need further validation and no final conclusions can be drawn yet.

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