Immunological castration temporarily reduces testis size and function without long-term effects on libido and sperm quality in boars.


The objective was to determine the effects of immunization against gonadotropin releasing hormone on reproductive characteristics in boars. Seventy-two boars were used in a randomized design with three treatments: single immunization (SI) or double immunization (DI) with Improvest® (Zoetis Animal Health, Florham Park, NJ, USA) and intact controls (no Improvest®; CNT) (n = 24/group). At 10, 15, 20, 25, and 40 wk of age, blood was collected and serum harvested to evaluate testosterone concentrations. Testosterone concentrations were less for DI boars compared to CNT boars and SI boars at 20 and 25 wk (P < 0.001), but not 40 wk of age. At wk 25, 18 pigs (n = 6/ group) were sacrificed and testes were removed, weighed, and measured and seminiferous tubules were examined and scored using histological slides of testes parenchyma. A sample of backfat was assessed for boar taint aroma. All testicular measurements and weights and seminiferous tubule scores were less for DI boars compared to SI and CNT boars (P < 0.001). More (P < 0.05) SI and CNT boars had detectable boar taint aroma than DI boars. Libido was assessed at 32, 36, 47, 60, and 63 wk of age and semen collected at 60 wk of age was analyzed for indicators of quality. There was no treatment effect (P = 0.41) on libido. Semen volume, gel weight and total number of sperm cells were not different among treatments. Sperm concentration was greater for DI than SI (P = 0.01), and tended to be greater for DI compared to CNT (P = 0.10). Sperm motility tended to be greater for DI boars compared to CNT boars (P = 0.066). The results show that there are no permanent effects of immunocastration on reproductive characteristics in boars.