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Effects of dietary n-3 fatty acids on characteristics and lipid composition of ovine sperm

Samadian, F., Towhidi, A., Rezayazdi, K., Bahreini, M.
Animal 2010 v.4 no.12 pp. 2017-2022
rams, male reproductive system, male fertility, sheep breeds, dietary fat, omega-3 fatty acids, nutritive value, semen, spermatozoa, lipid composition, fatty acid composition, polyunsaturated fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid, optimal nutrition, fertilization (reproduction), dietary supplements, breeding season, seasonal variation, Iran
The fatty acid composition of sperm affects the fertilization rate. The objective was to investigate the effects of dietary fish oil (as a source of n-3 fatty acids) on semen quality and sperm fatty acid composition in sheep. Eight Zandi fat-tailed rams were randomly allocated into two groups and fed either a control diet or a diet supplemented with fish oil. Both diets were isocaloric and isonitrogenous and were fed for 13 weeks, starting in the middle of the breeding season. Semen samples were collected weekly and their characteristics evaluated by standard methods, whereas samples collected at the start and end of the study were assessed (gas chromatography) for sperm lipid composition. Mean (±s.e.m.) sperm concentrations (4.3 × 10⁹ ± 1.3 × 10⁸ v. 3.9 × 10⁹ ± 1.3 × 10⁸ sperm/ml and percentages of motile (77.25 ± 3.34 v. 60.8 ± 3.34) and progressively motile sperm (74.13 ± 1.69 v. 62.69 ± 1.69) were significantly higher in the fish oil group than control. Dietary fish oil increased the proportion of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6 n-3) in sperm fatty acid composition. We concluded that feeding fish oil as a source of n-3 fatty acids attenuated seasonal declines in semen quality in rams, perhaps through increased DHA in sperm.