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Mutat Res. 2009 Jun 1;665(1-2):29-36. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2009.02.017. Epub 2009 Mar 13.

DNA integrity and semen quality in men with low seminal antioxidant levels.

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Laboratory for Molecular Reproduction and Genetics, Department of Anatomy, AIIMS, New Delhi 110029, India.


Accurate transmission of information coded in the sperm genome is vital to the pre- and post-natal development of the offspring. Recent advances in reproductive biology have proposed evaluation of sperm DNA integrity as an important assessment tool to infer the presence of DNA strand breaks, numerical abnormalities in sperm chromosome complement, and alterations in the epigenetic regulation of the paternal genome. Oxidative stress (OS), characterized by increased free radicals, may lead to the production of apurine sites, apyrimidine sites, oxidation of nucleotides of sperm genome. This study was performed to assess the impact of OS on DNA integrity in sperms. 52 infertile men [oligozoospermic-13, asthenozoospermic-15, teratozoospermic-19, oligoasthenoteratozoospermic-5] and 20 fertile controls were investigated for products of lipidperoxides as malondialdehyde; antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione in seminal plasma by biochemical methods. DNA integrity of the sperms was analyzed by visual scoring method in which the comets were graded into 4 categories (A-D) on the basis of their tail length indicative of increasing levels of DNA damage. Significant increase in DNA damage (higher number of sperms in group D) in cases (oligozoospermic (O)-20%, asthenozoospermic (A)-24%, teratozoospermic (T)-28%, OAT-43%) as compared to controls (8%) was found. Increased malondialdehyde levels, abnormal sperm morphology and higher DNA damage were observed in the cases. The antioxidants superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione had a positive association with sperm count and motility while a negative association with the percentage of dead sperms and abnormal morphology was observed. This study highlights the influence of low antioxidants on sperm genome integrity and indicates sperm DNA integrity as a better and more reliable prognostic tool for infertility evaluation than simple quantitative and morphologic evaluation of spermatozoa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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