Do antimicrobial peptides PR-39, PMAP-36 and PMAP-37 have any effect on bacterial growth and quality of liquid-stored boar semen?

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The use of antimicrobial peptides (AMP) has become one of the most promising alternatives to the use of antibiotics (Abs) in semen extender's formulation to overcome the increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. However, AMP may impair boar sperm quality, so that their deleterious effects might be higher than their effectiveness against bacteria. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine whether three different AMP, the proline-arginine-rich antimicrobial peptide PR-39 (PR-39), and the porcine myeloid antimicrobial peptides 36 (PMAP-36) and 37 (PMAP-37) had any effect upon boar sperm quality and bacterial growth. For this purpose, three different concentrations of each peptide (1 μM, 10 μM and 20 μM for PR-39 and 0.5 μM, 1 μM and 3 μM for PMAP-36 and PMAP-37) were added to 2 mL of a pool of extended semen with BTS without Abs; two controls, one without AMPs and Abs, and the other with Abs only were used for each peptide (n = 3). Total (TMOT) and progressive (PMOT) sperm motility, sperm viability and bacterial concentration were assessed before the addition of each AMP or Abs and at 1, 3, 6, 8 and 10 days post-addition. For each AMP, results revealed a drop in the TMOT and PMOT in all treatments and controls. In regard to sperm viability, while PR-39 at 10 μM maintained it in values similar to those of the control with Abs and PMAP-36 kept also the sperm viability in a similar fashion to the treatment with Abs, PMAP-37 was more effective in keeping sperm viability than controls (P < 0.05). Whereas PR-39 at 20 μM and PMAP-37 at 3 μM were quite effective in controlling bacterial load, PMAP-36 did not avoid bacterial growth at any concentration tested. In conclusion, taking all results together, PMAP-37 seems to be a suitable candidate to replace Abs in extended semen, as it hardly impairs sperm viability and controls the bacterial load. Nevertheless, further studies are still required to improve its effectiveness ​
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