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Arch Androl. 2007 May-Jun;53(3):125-33.

Genetic risk factors in male infertility.

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Andrology Unit, Department of Clinical Physiopathology, Viale Pieraccini, 6 Firenze, Italy.


The etiopathogenesis of testicular failure remains unknown in about half of the cases and is referred to as "idiopathic infertility". "Idiopathic" testicular failure is of probable genetic origin since the number of genes involved in human spermatogenesis is likely thousands and only a small proportion of them have been identified and screened in infertile men. In parallel with studies aimed to identify mutations with a clear cause-effect relationship in spermatogenesis candidate genes, there is an increasing interest towards genetic susceptibility factors to male infertility. Despite many efforts, only a few clinically relevant polymorphisms have been identified. This is mainly related to the multifactorial nature of male infertility and to the inappropriate study design of the majority of the studies. The most promising polymorphisms are in genes involved in the endocrine regulation of spermatogenesis and on the Y chromosome, the "gr/gr" deletions. Polymorphisms are generally considered as co-factors. Their final effect on testis function and fertility is probably modulated by the genetic background of each individual and/or by the presence of certain environmental factors. In this review, recent findings concerning some of the most widely studied polymorphisms and male infertility will be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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