Serum concentrations and testicular expressions of insulin-like peptide 3 and Anti-Müllerian hormone in normal and cryptorchid male horses

Theriogenology. 2020 Sep 15;154:135-142. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2020.05.026. Epub 2020 May 23.


Insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3) is an important hormone for testicular descent during embryonic development and a factor for assessing functional status of Leydig cells of testes, but there is limited number of equine studies. Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a useful diagnostic marker for cryptorchidism in horses. This study aimed to compare serum concentrations and testicular expression intensity of INSL3 and AMH in intact and cryptorchid male horses. Serum INSL3 concentrations in intact (n = 9; mean ± SEM, 19.9 ± 5.9 ng/mL) and noncastrated unilateral cryptorchid (UC) male horses (n = 16; mean ± SEM, 16.8 ± 4.1 ng/mL) were higher compared with hemicastrated unilateral cryptorchid (HCUC) male horses (n = 9; mean ± SEM, 3.8 ± 0.7 ng/mL) (P < 0.05). And serum INSL3 in bilateral cryptorchid (BC) male horses (n = 4; 1.9 ± 0.4; mean ± SEM, ng/mL) were lower compared with intact male horses (P < 0.05). Serum AMH concentrations in BC male horses (n = 3; mean ± SEM, 30.6 ± 4.8 ng/mL) were higher compared with intact male horses (n = 5; mean ± SEM, 12.2 ± 3.9 ng/mL) (P < 0.05). Immunostaining of scrotal and cryptorchid testis showed that Sertoli cells were positive for AMH, and Leydig cells were positive for INSL3. Staining intensity of AMH was higher in cryptorchid testis than in scrotal testis (P < 0.05). Furthermore, AMH expression intensity was higher in abdominal testis than in inguinal testis (P < 0.05). Immunostaining intensity of INSL3 in the testis was positively correlated with serum INSL3 (r, 0.7; P < 0.01), seminiferous tubule area (r, 0.727; P < 0.01), and Johnsen score for spermatogenesis (r, 0.604; P < 0.05), whereas immunostaining intensity of AMH in the testis was negatively correlated with seminiferous tubule area (r, -0.814; P < 0.01) and Johnsen score for spermatogenesis (r, -0.807; P < 0.01). Our findings suggested that AMH is a good biomarker for diagnosing cryptorchidism in male horses, in addition to INSL3 values to assess the testis of intact and cryptorchid male horses.

Keywords: AMH; Cryptorchid; INSL3; Male horse.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone
  • Cryptorchidism* / veterinary
  • Horse Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Horses
  • Insulins*
  • Male
  • Peptides
  • Testis


  • Insulins
  • Peptides
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone