Vaccination against the avian infectious bronchitis virus affects sperm concentration, sperm quality and blood testosterone concentrations in cockerels

C. R. Boltz, D. A. Boltz, D. Bunick, G. Scherba, J. M. Bahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. It was previously found that cockerels vaccinated with live attenuated avian infectious bronchitis virus (AIBV) have decreased serum testosterone concentrations, epididymal stones and reduced fertility. The objectives of this study were twofold: to determine if reduced fertility following vaccination with live attenuated virus was the result of reduced sperm concentration or reduced sperm quality and to determine if vaccination with a killed strain of virus caused a similar reduction in sperm function in vivo. 2. Specific-pathogen-free Single Comb White Leghorn cockerels were divided into three treatment groups: no vaccination (NONVAC), vaccination with killed AIBV virus (KVAC) or vaccination with live attenuated AIBV virus (LVAC). Semen was collected daily from 17 to 27 weeks of age, and semen quality was assessed frequently by analysing sperm concentration, viability, motility, and ability to reach and interact with the ovum in vivo. Blood plasma was assayed for testosterone concentration. 3. Differences in sperm analysis among treatment groups were limited. Sperm viability was increased in NONVAC during week 20 which then decreased in week 22 when compared to vaccinated cockerels. Acrosome damage was increased in vaccinated cockerels in week 22, and decreased in weeks 25 and 27 when compared to controls, which correlate to the period of epididymal stone development. Plasma testosterone concentrations and sperm concentrations among treatment groups were different only at 16 and 19 weeks of age, respectively. There were no differences across treatment groups in sperm mobility through Accudenz or in numbers of sperm holes in perivitelline membranes of eggs following insemination with semen from 27-week-old cockerels. No differences were observed in viability or acrosome integrity between cockerels with and without epididymal stones within treatment groups. 4. In conclusion, pre-pubertal vaccination against AIBV and subsequent epididymal stone formation had a limited effect on sperm concentration, sperm quality and plasma testosterone concentrations. Vaccination with killed AIBV vaccine did not diminish effects on sperm function in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-624
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Vaccination against the avian infectious bronchitis virus affects sperm concentration, sperm quality and blood testosterone concentrations in cockerels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this