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Andrologia. 2012 May;44 Suppl 1:571-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2011.01229.x. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Accurate sperm morphology assessment predicts sperm function.

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Khartoum Fertility Centre, Khartoum, Sudan.


Sperm morphology has been associated with in vitro as well as in vivo fertilisation. The study aimed to evaluate the possible relation between the percentage of spermatozoa with normal morphology and the following sperm functional assays: (i) zona-induced acrosome reaction (ZIAR); (ii) DNA integrity; (iii) chromatin condensation; (iv) sperm apoptosis; and (v) fertilisation rates. Regression analysis was employed to calculate the association between morphology and different functional tests. Normal sperm morphology correlated significantly with the percentages of live acrosome-reacted spermatozoa in the ZIAR (r = 0.518; P < 0.0001; n = 92), DNA integrity (r = -0.515; P = 0.0018; n = 34), CMA(3) -positive spermatozoa (r = -0.745; P < 0.0001; n = 92), sperm apoptosis (r = -0.395; P = 0.0206; n = 34) and necrosis (r = -0.545; P = 0.0009; n = 34). Negative correlations existed between for the acrosome reaction, and DNA integrity, while negative associations were recorded with the percentages of CMA(3) -positive spermatozoa, apoptotic and necrotic spermatozoa. Sperm morphology is related to sperm dysfunction such as poor chromatin condensation, acrosome reaction and DNA integrity. Negative and significant correlations existed between normal sperm morphology and chromatin condensation, the percentage of spermatozoa with abnormal DNA and spermatozoa with apoptotic activity. The authors do not regard sperm morphology as the only test for the diagnosis of male fertility, but sperm morphology can serve as a valuable indicator of underlying dysfunction.

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