Human sperm DNA integrity: correlation with sperm cytoplasmic droplets
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OBJECTIVES: To examine the retention of sperm cytoplasmic droplets (CD) and DNA denaturation (DD) in semen from fertile and infertile men. METHODS: Semen samples were obtained from consecutive nonazoospermic men presenting for infertility evaluation (n = 101) and fertile men presenting for vasectomy (n = 13). The standard semen parameters (sperm concentration, motility, and morphology), sperm DD, and sperm CD were monitored. Sperm DD was evaluated by flow cytometry analysis of acridine orange-treated spermatozoa and expressed as the percentage of spermatozoa demonstrating denatured DNA. RESULTS: The mean (+/-SE) percentages of spermatozoa with CD and DD were significantly higher in infertile than in fertile men (sperm CD 15.7% +/- 0.8% versus 4.8% +/- 0.7% and sperm DD 22.0% +/- 1.5% versus 10.8% +/- 1.8%, respectively). Sperm CD and DD were positively correlated (r = 0.59). Also, sperm CD and DD values correlated inversely with the standard semen parameters. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that the retention of sperm CD correlates positively with sperm DD and that significantly higher sperm DD and CD are found in infertile than in fertile men. These data suggest that the enhanced susceptibility of sperm DNA to denaturation is associated with the abnormal disposal of residual sperm cytoplasm in the testis and/or epididymis.
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