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The present study was undertaken to shed light on the relationship between boar sperm quality and dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which has been reported inconsistently in the literature. With this aim, such effects were evaluated and compared among three different porcine breeds: Duroc, Large-White, and Pietrain. Animals were randomly separated into two groups and fed either with a control diet or with a diet supplemented with omega-3. Sperm quality of these boar (ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, sperm viability, acrosome and mitochondrial sheath integrity, sperm motility, sperm morphology, and osmotic resistance of spermatozoa) was assessed every week for a 26-week period. Supplementing boar's diet with omega-3 did not affect ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility, sperm viability, and acrosome and mitochondrial sheath integrity. In contrast, supplemented diet positively affected both sperm morphology in Large-White and Pietrain breeds and the osmotic resistance of Pietrain spermatozoa. No effects were seen for the same sperm parameters in Duroc breed. These breed-differences in boar fed with the supplemented diet could explain the contradictions in literature and might be related with differences in the composition of plasma membrane among breeds reported by other authors. Because no harmful effects were observed in the three evaluated breeds, but positive effects in Large-White and Pietrain boar, we can conclude that omega-3 fatty acids may be added to boar's diet at the levels used in this study to improve their sperm quality. More research is, however, needed to determine how these fatty acids differently affect the morphology and the osmotic resistance of the spermatozoa in these breeds.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





184 - 196


Acrosome, Animals, Dietary Supplements, Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Male, Mitochondria, Osmotic Pressure, Semen Analysis, Sperm Motility, Spermatozoa, Swine