Sperm chromatin structure and male fertility: biological and clinical aspects

Date: 1-8-2010

REVIEW ARTICLE: Sperm chromatin structure and male fertility: biological and clinical aspects
J. Erenpreiss1,2, M. Spano3, J. Erenpreisa2, M. Bungum1,4, A. Giwercman1
1University of Lund, Fertility Centre, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö SE 205 02, Sweden
2Latvian University Biomedicine Centre, Ratsupites 1, Riga LV 1067, Latvia
3Section of Toxicology and Biomedical Sciences, BIOTEC-MED, ENEA CR Casaccia, Via Anguillarese 301, Rome 00060, Italy 4Fertility Clinic, Viborg Hospital (Skive), Resenvej 25, DK 7800 Skive, Denmark

AIM: Sperm chromatin/DNA integrity is essential for the accurate transmission of paternal genetic information, and normal sperm chromatin structure is important for sperm fertilizing ability. The routine examination of semen, which includes sperm concentration, motility and morphology, does not identify defects in sperm chromatin structure. The origin of sperm DNA damage and a variety of methods for its assessment are described. Evaluation of sperm DNA damage appears to be a useful tool for assessing male fertility potential both in vivo and in vitro. The possible impact of sperm DNA defects on the offspring is also discussed. (Asian J Androl 2006 Jan; 8: 11–29)

  "Accumulated data allows sperm DNA damage assessment to be recommended among routine tests for infertility investigations. Several methods are used to assess sperm chromatin/DNA status. SCSA is currently the only method that has provided clear clinical cut-off levels and that can be recommended for a robust sperm DNA damage evaluation."