Epididymal sperm granuloma and antisperm antibodies in donkeys.
This study aimed to describe and compare semen parameters (pre-freeze and post-freezing) and antisperm antibodies (ASA) of donkeys with epididymal sperm granuloma and healthy controls. Feral donkeys (n = 10) castrated in a concurrent study were enrolled in the present experiment. Three donkeys had unilateral granulomas, two donkeys had bilateral granulomas, whereas the remaining five had grossly normal epididymides. The granulomas were either single or multiple, firm, well-circumscribed, tan to red, and 1-5 mm in size. Upon incision, abundant, thick, tan to white-yellow fluid was recovered. Histopathology revealed epithelioid macrophages, multinucleated giant cells, and abundant sperm cell fragments with mineralized cellular debris. Each epididymis was dissected, and semen harvested for cryopreservation. Semen was assessed for sperm motility parameters, plasma membrane integrity, and mitochondrial membrane potential. All donkeys had semen cryopreserved in a standard manner. In addition, post-thaw semen from all donkeys was assessed for ASA (IgG and IgA), acrosome integrity and morphology. Post-thaw, the progressive sperm motility and the percentage of sperm with an intact plasma membrane were reduced in donkeys with sperm granuloma (P = 0.04). There was no difference in total sperm motility, morphology, or damaged acrosome across groups (P > 0.05). Three donkeys with sperm granuloma (60%) displayed increased IgG and IgA ASA. In conclusion, sperm granulomas only marginally affected sperm quality and resulted in IgG ASA binding to sperm with damaged plasma membrane. It remains to be determined if sperm granuloma and ASA affect fertility in donkeys.