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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Histomorphological and immunohistochemical findings in testes, bulbourethral glands and brain of immunologically castrated male piglets.

The aim of this study was the histological and immunohistochemical evaluation and comparison of testicular, bulbourethral and brain tissue in immunized and intact control boars. Fourteen male piglets, aged between 10 and 16 weeks, were vaccinated twice subcutaneously 4 to 5 weeks apart with Improvac, an anti-GnRH vaccine. The pigs were sacrificed 1 to 16 weeks following the second injection. Testicular weight was recorded and various tissue samples were collected and fixed in formalin and Bouin's fixative for histological examination. In addition, 2 boars were immunized five times and slaughtered 60 weeks after the last injection. Histological and immunohistological studies performed on testes and epididymes showed clear signs of atrophy in the immunized animals and a significant reduction in paired testes weight was seen in treated boars. Microscopically, the mean diameter of the seminiferous tubules was markedly reduced. Spermatogonia as well as few spermatocytes were visible between the Sertoli cells and Leydig cells were atrophic. None or only few spermatozoa were detected in the epididymis. The bulbourethral glands of immunocastrated pigs were smaller than in control pigs and showed histological evidence of atrophy. Immunohistological detection of LH and FSH in the pituitary gland of treated and control boars showed no quantifiable difference in the amount of these two gonadotropins and no lesions were visible in the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. From our findings it can be concluded that the anti-GnRH vaccine Improvac induces severe atrophy of testes and bulbourethral glands in immunized pigs. This effect appears to be reversible, depending on the immune response of each animal and the time elapsed after the last booster injection.[1]


  1. Histomorphological and immunohistochemical findings in testes, bulbourethral glands and brain of immunologically castrated male piglets. Hilbe, M., Jaros, P., Ehrensperger, F., Zlinszky, K., Janett, F., H??ssig, M., Thun, R. Schweiz. Arch. Tierheilkd. (2006) [Pubmed]
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