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Reprod Biomed Online. 2010 Oct;21(4):474-84. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2010.06.026. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Hypo-osmotic swelling test identifies individual spermatozoa with minimal DNA fragmentation.

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PIVET Medical Centre, 166-168 Cambridge St., Leederville, Perth, 6007 WA, Australia.


One concern during intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is that selected spermatozoa may have increased levels of DNA damage; however, the available testing for this is largely destructive in nature and therefore unsuitable as a tool for sperm selection. One alternative selection process that has previously achieved pregnancies is the hypo-osmotic swelling test (HOST). This study reports that low HOST values of neat semen samples were significantly (P<0.001) associated with increased DNA damage identified by the DNA fragmentation index (DFI) from the sperm chromatin structure assay as well as the TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) assay. The HOST value was highly predictive of an abnormal DFI value by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis (P<0.001). Furthermore, when individual spermatozoa were assessed for both HOST status and DNA fragmentation by TUNEL, the key HOST-induced tail-swelling grades D, E and F were most commonly associated with high HOST values and were significantly (P<0.001) associated with minimal DNA damage regardless of the DNA status of the ejaculate. The application of HOST may be a valuable tool in the routine identification and selection of viable, DNA-intact individual spermatozoa for ICSI after further research to demonstrate its efficacy and safety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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