Recent studies have suggested that avian semen contains a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which are characterised by an increased susceptibility to lipid peroxidation. Free radicals are produced as a consequence of lipid peroxidation and these can impact on the fertility of male birds. The seminal plasma has been equipped with a defence mechanism called antioxidant capacity which protects sperm integrity against the negative impact of ROS (reactive oxygen species).
From the available literature, it can be surmised that lipid peroxidation is one of the major causes of low fertility in male birds which can be remedied with supplementation of exogenous vitamin E. Vitamin E provides biological stability to spermatozoal plasma membranes by inhibiting the generation of ROS. Recent studies have suggested a role of vitamin E in improving semen quality and subsequent better fertility. In this review the current knowledge of physiology of ROS and antioxidative role of vitamin E to treat avian male fertility is discussed.