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Hum Mol Genet. 2007 Dec 1;16(23):2870-9. Epub 2007 Aug 29.

Abnormal meiotic recombination in infertile men and its association with sperm aneuploidy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada V6H 3N1.


Defects in early meiotic events are thought to play a critical role in male infertility; however, little is known regarding the relationship between early meiotic events and the chromosomal constitution of human sperm. Thus, we analyzed testicular tissue from 26 men (9 fertile and 17 infertile men), using immunofluorescent techniques to examine meiotic chromosomes, and fluorescent in situ hybridization to assess sperm aneuploidy. Based on a relatively small sample size, we observed that 42% (5/12) of men with impaired spermatogenesis displayed reduced genome-wide recombination when compared to the fertile men. Analysis of individual chromosomes showed chromosome-specific defects in recombination: chromosome 13 and 18 bivalents with only a single crossover and chromosome 21 bivalents lacking a crossover were more frequent among the infertile men. We identified two infertile men who displayed a novel meiotic defect in which the sex chromosomes failed to recombine: one man had an absence of sperm in the testes, while the other displayed increased sex chromosome aneuploidy in the sperm, resulting in a 45,X abortus after intracytoplasmic sperm injection. When all men were pooled, we observed an inverse correlation between the frequency of sex chromosome recombination and XY disomy in the sperm. Recombination between the sex chromosomes may be a useful indicator for identifying men at risk of producing chromosomally abnormal sperm. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms that contribute to sperm aneuploidy in infertile men could aid in risk assessment for couples undergoing assisted reproduction.

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