Teratospermic and Normospermic Domestic Cats: Ejaculate Traits, Pituitary—Gonadal Hormones, and Improvement of Spermatozoal Motility and Morphology After Swim‐Up Processing


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Electroejaculate traits, testicular volume, and circulating FSH, LH, and testosterone concentrations were compared between two populations of domestic cats consistently producing either a high (> 60%, normospermic) or low (< 40%, teratospermic) incidence of structurally normal spermatozoa/ejaculate. The effects of semen dilution in Biggers, Whitten, and Whittingham (BWW) or modified Krebs Ringer bicarbonate (mKRB) medium and swim‐up processing on sperm viability and duration of motility in vitro also were assessed. Ejaculate volume, percent sperm motility, sperm progressive motility, motile spermatozoa/ejaculate, testes volume, and mean serum FSH and LH concentrations were similar (P > 0.05) between normospermic and teratospermic cats. However, sperm concentration/ml of ejaculate was greater and circulating testosterone levels were lower in teratospermic males. Swim‐up processing increased (P < 0.05) percent sperm motility, progressive motility, and the number of structurally normal sperm cells recovered and also prolonged the duration of sperm motility in both cat populations. In teratospermic ejaculates, swim‐up separation increased the proportion of morphologically normal spermatozoa recovered by more than two‐fold. Diluting cat semen with either BWW or mKRB increased flagellar bending in both normospermic and teratospermic cats. The sperm motility characteristics of only the teratospermic ejaculates were influenced by medium type; mKRB increased percent sperm motility and progressive motility whereas BWW had no effect. Compared with undiluted raw ejaculates, the duration of sperm motility was improved 18‐ to 24‐fold by diluting semen in either BWW or mKRB medium followed by swim‐up processing. This study demonstrates that the electroejaculate characteristics of domestic cats vary markedly and that some males consistently produce high proportions of morphologically abnormal spermatozoa. Diminished serum testosterone concentrations and normal pituitary secretion of FSH and LH in teratospermic males suggest that there is an inverse relationship between gonadal androgen production and pleiomorphic spermatozoa in the domestic cat. The swim‐up procedure is effective for recovering motile, structurally normal spermatozoa from teratospermic cats. 1990 American Society of Andrology

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-215
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of andrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990


  • FSH
  • LH
  • domestic cat
  • sperm morphology
  • swim‐up
  • teratospermia
  • testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology


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