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Aneuploidy and DNA fragmentation in morphologically abnormal sperm

Date: 1-10-2010

S. S. Tang*, H. Gao*, Y. Zhao† and S. Ma*
*Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada , and  †Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

ABSTRACT: In light of the relative success of ICSI in the treatment of male infertility, much importance has been made to the selection of morphologically viable sperm. However, correlation between specific sperm morphology and chromosomal abnormalities is still relatively limited and less is known about the connection between sperm morphology and DNA integrity. Sperm obtained from isolated teratozoospermic men (n = 10) and control men (n = 9) were analyzed using FISH (for chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X and Y) and TUNEL assays to determine the level of aneuploidy and DNA fragmentation. Sperm morphology was evaluated on its ability to identify the level of chromosomal abnormalities or fragmented DNA in sperm. Sperm from teratozoospermic men, compared with fertile men, had higher rates of total chromosomal abnormality (p < 0.05), total aneuploidy (p < 0.01) and chromosome 13 disomy (p < 0.01). Associations between particular types of sperm morphology and chromosomal abnormalities were observed in both control (tapered heads) and teratozoospermic (amorphous heads and tail abnormalities) samples. Levels of DNA fragmented sperm were higher in teratozoospermic men than in the control men (60.28 ± 21.40% vs. 32.40 ± 17.20%, p < 0.05) and positively correlated to sperm with bent necks in control samples and round heads in teratozoospermic samples (p < 0.05).

Sperm of isolated teratozoospermic men have higher rates of chromosomal abnormalities and DNA fragmentation than that of the fertile controls. Specific abnormal sperm morphology can be correlated to chromosomal abnormalities and level of DNA