2018 Volume 64 Issue 5 Pages 401-407
This study was conducted to clarify the relationships of plasma concentrations of insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3), testosterone, inhibin, and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) with scrotal circumference and testicular weight in Japanese Black beef bull calves (n = 20), from birth to pre-puberty. Monthly blood sampling (0 to 7 months) and scrotal circumference measurements (0 to 7 months) were performed. Testicular weight was recorded immediately after castration at 7 months. Plasma INSL3, testosterone, inhibin, and IGF-I concentrations were measured either by enzyme immunoassay or time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay. The correlation coefficients of these hormonal concentrations with scrotal circumference were significant (P < 0.0001) and it was higher for INSL3 (r = 0.647) than for testosterone (r = 0.597), IGF-I (r = 0.400), and inhibin (r = –0.453). Calves with heavier testes (> 60 g) at castration (7 months) had higher (P < 0.05) plasma INSL3 (from 3 to 7 months) and inhibin (from 1 to 4 months) concentrations than those with lighter testes (< 60 g). The calves with heavier testes at castration had larger (P < 0.05) scrotal circumference than those with lighter testes from 3 to 7 months. In conclusion, blood INSL3 concentrations may be the best functional indicator among the hormones analyzed for determining total testicular volume during pre-puberty in bull calves. In addition, inhibin and INSL3 concentrations in early calfhood may be functional predictors for testicular weight at pre-puberty.