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J Assist Reprod Genet. 2010 Feb;27(2-3):103-9. doi: 10.1007/s10815-010-9384-9. Epub 2010 Feb 18.

Expression of the Fas-ligand gene in ejaculated sperm from adolescents with and without varicocele.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Sao Paulo Federal University, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



To assess FasL mRNA levels in ejaculated sperm from adolescent patients with and without varicocele.


Semen was obtained by masturbation following 2-4 days of ejaculatory abstinence, from 14 adolescents with varicocele grades II and III (study group), and 20 adolescents without varicocele (control group). Seminal analysis was done according to World Health Organization guidelines and morphology using Kruger's strict criteria. The Fas-ligand (FasL) gene expression was performed using reverse transcription and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) analysis, according to the expression level of the housekeeping cyclophilin A gene. A Student's t-test was applied to compare the groups, and Spearman's rank test in order to verify possible correlations (p < 0.05).


Quantitative RQ-PCR demonstrated that the expression of FasL mRNA in sperm from the varicocele group was higher than in the control group. Also, sperm concentration was higher in the controls, when compared to the varicocele group. When submitted to correlation analysis, adolescents with varicocele presented a correlation between sperm concentration and FasL gene expression levels (r = -0.470), not observed in controls.


Our results allow us to conclude that, in adolescents with varicocele presenting lower sperm concentration, FasL mRNA levels are higher than in adolescents without varicocele.

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