Determining the Effects of Serial Injections of Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin on Plasma Testosterone Concentrations, Testicular Dynamics, and Semen Production in Leopard Geckos ()

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Reptiles are highly susceptible to anthropogenic activities as a result of their narrow geographical ranges and habitat specialization, making them a conservation concern. Geckos represent one of the mega-diverse reptile lineages under pressure; however, limited assisted reproductive technologies currently exist for these animals. Exogenous pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) has been found to exhibit follicle stimulating hormone-like action and has been routinely used to alter reproductive hormones of vertebrates in assisted reproductive protocols. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of serial injections of 20 IU and 50 IU PMSG on circulating testosterone concentrations, testicular dynamics, and semen production in a model species of gecko. Twenty-four captive-bred, adult, male leopard geckos () were divided into three treatment groups and administered a once-weekly injection of either PMSG or saline for a total of nine weeks. Ultrasonographic testicular measurements, electrostimulation for semen collection, and venipuncture were performed on days 0, 21, 42, and 63. Right unilateral orchidectomies and epididymectomies were performed in all animals on day 63; tissues were submitted for histopathology. PMSG treated geckos had significantly higher testicular volumes and weights, spermatozoa motility, and spermatozoa concentrations compared with controls. However, there were no significant differences in testosterone concentrations by treatment or time. Under the conditions outlined, PMSG is effective at stimulating spermatogenesis and increasing testicular size, but not effective at increasing testosterone concentrations in the leopard gecko between October-December in the Northern hemisphere.

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Animals : an open access journal from MDPI

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