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Aneuploidy and DNA fragmentation in morphologically abnormal sperm Tang, Steven Siu Yan


Introduction: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has been a successful assisted reproductive technique for men with severe male-factor infertility. However, ICSI requires the subjective selection of normal looking sperm, which does not preclude the transmission of genetically abnormal sperm. Correlation between abnormal sperm morphology and chromosomal abnormalities has been suggested but not been conclusive and less is known about the connection between sperm morphology and DNA integrity. Sperm morphology will be evaluated on its ability to identify the level of chromosomal abnormalities or fragmented DNA in sperm. To further focus this investigation on sperm morphology, men with infertility isolated to abnormal sperm morphology (isolated teratozoopsermia) are examined. Materials and Methods: Sperm from isolated teratozoopsermic men (n=10) were analysed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and terminal dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) assays to determine the level of aneuploidy and DNA fragmentation, respectively. These results were also compared to that of sperm from control men (n=9) of proven fertility and normal seminal parameters. Results: Sperm from teratozoospermic men, compared to control men, had higher rates of total chromosomal abnormality (5.90±3.74% vs. 2.35±0.87%, P=0.0128), total aneuploidy (4.90±2.82% vs. 1.99±0.65%, P=0.0087), and chromosome 13 disomy (0.77±0.50% vs. 0.20±0.14%, P=0.0046). In control samples, incidence of tapered heads associated with supernumerary chromosomal abnormalities (rs=0.9747, P=0.0167). In teratozoospermic samples, incidence of amorphous heads associated to chromosome 13 disomy and sex chromosome aneuploidy (rs=0.6391, P= 0.0466; rs=0.8049, P=0.0050, respectively). Tail abnormalities were associated with chromosomal abnormalities (bent tail-disomy 13: rs=0.7939, P=0.0061; 2-tailed-disomy 13: rs=0.8193, P=0.0037; 2-tailed-supernumerary chromosomal abnormalities: rs=0.7534, P=0.0119). Levels of DNA fragmented sperm were higher in teratozoospermic men than control men (60.28±21.40% vs. 32.40±17.20%, P=0.0121). DNA fragmentation in sperm positively correlated with the incidence of sperm with bent necks in control samples (rs=0.8571, P=0.0238) and round headed sperm in teratozoospermic samples (rs=0.6727, P=0.0390). Conclusions: Sperm of isolated teratozoospermic men have elevated rates of chromosomal abnormalities and DNA fragmentation compared to that of fertile controls. Specific abnormal sperm morphology can be correlated wiht chromosomal abnormalities and level of DNA fragmentation in sperm and this may prove useful in sperm selection for ICSI when applied to isolated teratozoospermic patients.

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