Clinical observations on changes in concentrations of hormones in plasma of two stallions with thermally-induced testicular degeneration Academic Article uri icon


  • To investigate effects of thermally-induced testicular degeneration on hormonal and seminal parameters in stallions, the scrotum was insulated for 36 hours in two mature (5-year-old mixed breed and 11-year-old Thoroughbred) stallions. Semen was collected daily for 10 days (DSO) prior to, and at intervals after, scrotal insulation. When DSO determinations were not being made, semen was collected 3 times weekly. Jugular blood samples were collected at 15-minute intervals for 6 hours from each stallion prior to, and at intervals after, scrotal insulation. A mouse interstitial cell testosterone assay was modified to quantify biologic activity of equine luteinizing hormone (BLH) in plasma samples. Immunoactive luteinizing hormone (ILH) and testosterone (T) concentrations were determined in plasma samples by routine RIA procedures. Percentages of progressively motile and morphologically normal spermatozoa began to decrease by 1 to 2 weeks postinsulation, reached nadir values at 3 to 3-1/2 weeks postinsulation, and returned to preinsulation values by 7 weeks postinsulation. Total number of spermatozoa and total number of progressively motile, morphologically normal spermatozoa in ejaculates at DSO returned to normal by 8 weeks postinsulation in stallion 2 and 12 weeks postinsulation in stallion 1. Concentrations of BLH and ILH increased, and while T concentrations decreased, immediately postinsulation. The increase in ILH concentrations was greater than the increase in BLH concentrations, resulting in a decrease in the BLH:ILH (B:I) ratio. Following the peak in LH secretion immediately postinsulation, LH concentrations gradually decreased while T concentrations increased. The B:I ratio was elevated from 1 to 13 weeks postinsulation compared to immediately postinsulation. In addition to changes in spermatozoal quality in ejaculates, stallion response to scrotal insulation included increased secretion of luteinizing hormone and impaired Leydig cell function (as determined by reduced testosterone concentration in circulating plasma). The proportion of biologically active LH secreted in response to thermal testicular injury increased during the recovery phase.

author list (cited authors)

  • Blanchard, T. L., Jorgensen, J. B., Varner, D. D., Forrest, D. W., & Evans, J. W.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • May 1996