Bovine dopamine type-2 receptor SNP has no effect on growth, semen characteristics and prolactin concentrations in beef bulls treated with a dopamine agonist

Anim Reprod Sci. 2019 Aug;207:73-82. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2019.06.005. Epub 2019 Jun 5.


A dopamine type-2 receptor (DRD2) SNP, previously found to be correlated with serum prolactin (PRL) concentrations in cattle, was evaluated for impact on growth traits, serum prolactin concentration, and semen quality. Over a four-year period, yearling beef bulls were allowed diets containing or lacking ergot alkaloids (EA). Every 21 or 28 d semen was collected for semen motility and morphology assessment and blood samples were collected to measure serum PRL concentrations. In addition, body condition score and scrotal circumference were evaluated. Serum PRL concentrations were assessed using a radioimmunoassay. In the first year, all bulls were sacrificed at the end of a 126-day study. Testicles and epididymis were collected at the end of the study or 60 days after removal from treatment. Immunohistochemistry was performed on testis, epididymis, and sperm cells, incubated with or without a primary antibody for DRD2 and counterstained with DAPI. Isolation of DNA was performed on sperm pellets using DNAzol (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA, USA) methods. Polymerase chain reaction was performed to amplify the region of the DRD2 gene containing the SNP of interest. The products were subjected to restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Further, all samples were subjected to genotyping using a custom Taqman genotyping assay (Applied Biosystems, Foster city, CA, USA). The presence of DRD2 was detected in the testis, epididymis, and sperm cells. The DRD2 genotype was not associated with semen quality, serum PRL, or growth traits. Consumption of EA resulted in lesser PRL serum concentrations but had no effect on values for other variable examined.

Keywords: Body condition; Dopamine receptor Type-2; Genotype; Prolactin; Semen quality.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Constitution / genetics
  • Cattle* / blood
  • Cattle* / genetics
  • Cattle* / growth & development
  • Dopamine / blood
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Genotype
  • Growth and Development* / drug effects
  • Growth and Development* / genetics
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*
  • Semen / drug effects*
  • Semen / metabolism
  • Semen / physiology
  • Semen Analysis / veterinary
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Sperm Motility / genetics


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Prolactin
  • Dopamine