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Avicenna J Med Biotechnol. 2009 Oct;1(3):147-60.

Sperm chromatin integrity: etiologies and mechanisms of abnormality, assays, clinical importance, preventing and repairing damage.

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  • 1Reproductive Biotechnology Research Center, Avicenna Research Institute, ACECR, Tehran, Iran ; Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Nutrition & Food Industry, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


The standard semen analysis is the first line and the most popular laboratory test in the diagnosis of male fertility. It evaluates sperm concentration, motility, morphology and their vitality. However, it is well-known that normal results of semen analysis can not exclude men from the causes of couples' infertility. One of the most important parameters of sperm in its fertilizing potential is "Sperm chromatin integrity" that has direct positive correlation with Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) outcomes including; fertilization rate, embryo quality, pregnancy and successful delivery rate. It seems that sperm DNA chromatin integrity provides better diagnostic and prognostic approaches than standard semen parameters. For these reasons under-standing the sperm chromatin structure, etiology of sperm chromatin abnormality, identification factors that disturbs sperm chromatin integrity and the mechanism of their action can help in recognizing the causes of couples' infertility. Various methods of its evaluation, its importance in male fertility, clinical relevance in the outcomes of ART and application of laboratory and medical protocols to improve this integrity have valuable position in diagnosis and treatment of male infertility. There has recently been interest in the subject and its application in the field of andrology. Therefore, with regard to the above mentioned importance of sperm chromatin integrity, this review article describes details of the useful information pertaining to sperm DNA damage including the origins, assessments, etiologies, clinical aspects, and prevention of it.


Chromatin; DNA Damage; Fertility; Male; Spermatozoa

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