Professor Andrew Horne
Professor of Gynaecology and Reproductive
MRC Centre for Reproductive Health,
University of Edinburgh,
Professor Norah Spears
Norah Spears, D Phil
Professor of Reproductive Physiology,
Centre for Integrative Physiology,
University of Edinburgh,
Meet the Editorial Board

Seminal plasma contains extracellular vesicles (EVs) that vehicle RNA, proteins, and other molecules able to influence the biological function of sperm. The aim of this study was to improve the fertilizing capacity of male gametes of low-fertility bulls using EVs isolated by ultracentrifugation from the seminal plasma of a bull of proven fertility. After dose-response curve, 10×106 sperm of low-fertility bulls were co-incubated for an hour with 400×106 EVs/ml. In addition, it has been verified that the incorporation of EVs, which takes place in the sperm midpiece, is maintained for 5 hours and even after cryopreservation. Subsequently, the spermatozoa of low-fertility bulls, with EVs incorporated, were used for the in vitro production of embryos. The rate of blastocyst at seventh day yield in vitro, with the use of sperm with EVs incorporated, increased by about twice the yield obtained with the same sperm in the absence of EVs: bulls having an average embryonic yield of 6.41±1.48%, 10.32±4.34% and 10.92±0.95% improved their yield to 21.21±1.99%, 22.17±6.09% and 19.99±5.78%, respectively (P<0.05). These encouraging results suggest that it might be possible to keep breeding bulls with poor fertility. Further studies will be needed to evaluate the in vivo fertility of sperm treated with EVs and understand how the content of EVs is involve in the sperm-vesicle interaction and in the improved sperm performance.

Risk factors associated with equine reproductive efficiency have been identified along with those associated specifically with early pregnancy loss (EPL). In contrast, no studies have reported risk factors associated with abortion (loss between day 70 and 300 post-cover). Given the causes of abortion differ to those of EPL, likely too will the risk factors. A retrospective cohort study was carried out to identify risk factors associated with abortion in UK and Irish based Thoroughbreds, collecting data on 20 exposure variables over a five-year period. A generalized linear mixed model was utilized to evaluate the associations between exposure variables and abortion, with clustering of observations accounted for at the mare and farm level. Variables with a likelihood ratio test (LRT) p value <0.2 were entered into the model in a forward stepwise approach. Pregnancy outcome was available on 4,439 pregnancies from 2,510 mares. Having had two or more prior abortions (odds ratio (OR) 7.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.86, 21.88), conceiving on the second or subsequent covered estrous cycle (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.22, 2.78) and conceiving multiple conceptuses (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.02, 2.76) were associated with an increased risk of abortion compared to null parous, first estrous cycle covers and singleton conceptions respectively. Increasing paternal age (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.90, 0.99) was associated with a decreasing risk of abortion. Mare and farm variance were not significant in the final model, LRT p=0.43. These findings provide evidence-based data to inform Thoroughbred breeding management practices to help mitigate abortion risk.

Yellowish myotis present a seasonal reproduction, influenced by rainfall distribution, in which the testis mass, germ cell composition, and brown adipose tissue mass change along the reproductive stages. In the present study, tissue xenografts were performed in immunodeficient mice to investigate spermatogenesis development in a stable endocrine milieu and the possible androgenic role of brown adipose tissue. Forty-one adult male bats were captured in the Santuário do Caraça, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The gonads and brown adipose tissue were collected, weighed, and grafted under the mice's back skin. Mice biometric and hormonal data were evaluated after grafting, and the testis grafts and mice gonads were fixed for histological and immunohistochemical analyses. As a result, testis grafts from adult bats presented a continuous germ cell development in all reproductive phases, showing round spermatids in all testis tissues. Furthermore, testis fragments in the Rest stage presented elongating spermatids as the most advanced germ cell type in the seminiferous epithelium after seven months of grafting. These data indicated that yellowish myotis spermatogenesis could be continued (presenting a constant spermatogonial differentiation) in a stable endocrine milieu, as found in mice. In addition, the best spermatogenic development was achieved when testis fragments were transplanted at their lowest activity (Rest stage). Regarding the brown adipose tissue grafts, the adipose tissue consumption by mice increased seminal vesicle mass and testosterone serum levels. This data proved that the brown adipose tissue is related to testosterone synthesis, which may be critical in stimulating the differentiation of spermatogonia in yellowish myotis.


Read the following articles chosen by the Editors


The impact of Covid-19 on infertility services and future directions

Authors: I Robertson, A J Kermack, and Y Cheong
Volume 1: Issue 1, Pages: C3–C7


Undernutrition reduces kisspeptin and neurokinin B expression in castrated male sheep

Authors: Christina M Merkley et al.
Volume 1: Issue 1, Pages: 21–33


Effects of lifestyle factors on fertility: practical recommendations for modification

Authors: Mathias Abiodun Emokpae and Somieye Imaobong Brown
Volume 2: Issue 1, Pages: R13–R26


Pelvic pain correlates with peritoneal macrophage abundance not endometriosis

Authors: Douglas A Gibson et al.
Volume 2: Issue 1, Pages: 47–57


One day is better than four days of ejaculatory abstinence for sperm function

Authors: Fatima Kazue Okada, Rhayza Roberta Andretta, and Deborah Montagnini Spaine
Volume 1: Issue 1, Pages: 1–10


Factors affecting reproductive traits in male snow leopards (Unciauncia)

Authors: Jason R Herrick et al.
Volume 1: Issue 1, Pages: 35–49


Study design flaws and statistical challenges in evaluating fertility treatments

Authors: Jack Wilkinson and Katie Stocking
Volume 2: Issue 2, Pages: C9–C21

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