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Hum Reprod. 2002 Dec;17(12):3162-9.

The impact of testicular and accessory sex gland function on sperm chromatin integrity as assessed by the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA).

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Department of Urology, Scanian Andrology Centre (EAA accredited), Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.



The sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) provides an objective assessment of sperm chromatin integrity, which is essential for normal sperm function. SCSA is valuable as a fertility marker in epidemiological studies and in the clinical situation. Little is known about the impact of testicular and post-testicular function on SCSA parameters.


Ejaculates from 278 military conscripts of median age 18.1 (range 18-21) years were included. Levels of reproductive hormones, the length of the CAG repeat of the androgen receptor gene, sperm concentration, abstinence period and biochemical parameters of epididymal and accessory sex gland secretions were correlated to the SCSA parameters, DNA fragmentation index (DFI) and highly DNA stainable (HDS) cells.


Negative correlations were found between sperm concentration and DFI (r = -0.119, P = 0.049) and HDS (r = -0.513, P < 0.0001). DFI was negatively correlated with levels of estradiol (r = -0.19, P = 0.002) and free testosterone (r = -0.13, P = 0.03). DFI also correlated positively with abstinence time (r = 0.17, P = 0.005), and with seminal concentrations of fructose (r = 0.18, P = 0.004) and zinc (r = 0.12, P = 0.04).


Sex steroid production, spermatogenic function, abstinence time and seminal vesicle function appear to impact on sperm chromatin integrity and thereby on sperm fertilizing capacity. These findings may improve present understanding of the pathophysiology of male infertility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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