Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #273614

Title: Effect of 17ß trenbolone on male and female reproduction in japanese quail (Coturnix japonica japonica)

item HENRY, PAULA - US Department Of Interior
item CHEN, YU - US Department Of The Interior
item KAROUNA-RENIER, NATALIE - US Department Of The Interior
item SPRAGUE, DANIEL - US Department Of The Interior
item Bakst, Murray
item Akuffo, Valorie

Submitted to: Poultry and Avian Biology Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/18/2012
Publication Date: 6/20/2012
Citation: Henry, P.F., Chen, Y., Karouna-Renier, N., Sprague, D., Bakst, M.R., Akuffo, V.G. 2012. Effect of 17ß trenbolone on male and female reproduction in japanese quail (Coturnix japonica japonica). Poultry and Avian Biology Reviews. 5:61-68.

Interpretive Summary: Trenbolone (TB), a compound that mimics the effects of testosterone, may influence reproductive functions in nondomestic birds. We looked at the impact of three concentrations of TB in feed provided to Japanese quail during the 2 weeks before and after the onset of sexual maturation. There was no impact on male reproductive function. In females, the treatment group fed the highest concentration of TB (20 parts per million) had fewest number of maturing ovarian follicles (oocytes), lowest egg production rate, and the lowest fertility rate. Furthermore, the female quail in the highest treatment had the lowest number of sperm holes, sites where sperm digest a path through the perivitelline layer (PVL: the envelop surrounding the ovum) in the first eggs produced. Sperm hole numbers increased later in egg production. We conclude that dietary TB can cause reductions in the number of maturing ovarian follicles, rate of egg production, and lower fertility in the first eggs laid. This information would be of use to scientists studying the impact of hormones on reproductive function in birds and others interested in the impact of sex-like hormones on the environment.

Technical Abstract: The anabolic steroid 17ß trenbolone (17ß-TB), a known endocrine disruptive chemical, may influence reproductive functions in avian wildlife. We evaluated the effects of dietary exposure to 17ß-TB at 5 and 20 ppm on reproductive functional endpoints in Japanese quail during and after sexual maturation. In the male, 5 and 20 ppm treatments revealed no differences in testes histology, body weight, testes weight, plasma testosterone levels, or size and weight of the foam glands. However, the onset of foam production was significantly earlier (days of age) in the 20 ppm males. In females, significant differences were observed in the number of maturing yellow yolk follicles, weekly and overall fertile egg production, and plasma testosterone levels. Histology of the oviductal sperm storage tubules was normal in all treatments. The number of sperm holes, sites on the perivitelline layer (PVL) where sperm bound and hydrolyzed a path through the PVL, were significantly greater in the 10th egg laid compared to the 1st egg laid in the 20 ppm treatment. Our results indicate a greater potential effect on female reproduction when dietary 17ß-TB is provided at the onset of sexual maturation versus in ovo administration. We conclude that dietary 17ß-TB at 20 ppm caused a reduction in the number of maturing yellow yolk follicles and subsequently the rate of egg production, both valid endpoints for the study of 17ß-TB on reproductive function.