Acta Vet. Brno 2019, 88: 193-200

The effect of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) vaccination of male piglets on sperm quality at the age of puberty

Theodoros Karapanos1, Ioannis Tsakmakidis1, Spyridon Kritas2, Panagiotis Tassis1, Georgios Tsousis1, Eleni D. Tzika1

1Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinics, Clinic of Farm Animals, Thessaloniki, Greece
2Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Thessaloniki, Greece

Received January 29, 2019
Accepted April 23, 2019

The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) vaccination in piglets on sperm quality of young boars. A total of 136 sows were divided in four groups of 34 animals each (17 vaccinated with Circovac®, Merial and 17 unvaccinated in each group). A total of 1 200 piglets were selected, half of which were vaccinated against PCV2 on the 21st day (Porcilis® PCV, MSD) and the other half was left unvaccinated. Four groups of 300 pigs each were formed as follows: PS group (vaccinated sows + piglets), S group (vaccinated sows + unvaccinated piglets), P group (unvaccinated sows + vaccinated piglets), C group (unvaccinated sows + piglets). Furthermore, 80 boars (20 piglets per group) were selected and slaughtered at the age of 5.5 months and weight of 95 ± 5.5 kg and their epididymal sperm was collected and evaluated for motility and kinetics, concentration and morphology. Additionally, 10 pigs from each group were used for blood sampling and serological testing for PCV2 IgM and IgG antibodies at the age of 21, 70, 110 and 150 days. The IgG and IgM patterns suggested that the piglets were coming into contact with PCV2 early in life. The S group demonstrated significantly lower curvilinear velocity (VCL, μm/s), amplitude of lateral head displacement (ALH, μm) and significantly higher head abnormalities (%) compared to other groups (P < 0.05). In conclusion, vaccinated young boars showed some improved epididymal sperm kinetic indices and head morphology.


We would like to thank the owner of the pig farm for the help that he provided during the experimental period and MSD Hellas for financial assistance for the purchase of the vaccination products and for conducting the necessary laboratory examinations (AUTH Research Committee grand number 88384).


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