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Asian J Androl. 2019 Jul 23. doi: 10.4103/aja.aja_51_19. [Epub ahead of print]

Implementation of an in-house flow cytometric analysis of DNA fragmentation in spermatozoa.

Rex AS1,2,3, Wu C1,3, Aagaard J2, Fedder J1,3.

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Centre of Andrology and Fertility Clinic, Odense University Hospital, Odense 5000, Denmark.
Aagaard Gynaecological Clinic, Skejby 8200, Aarhus, Denmark.
Research Unit of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense 5000, Denmark.


An increased amount of DNA fragmentation in the spermatozoa (SDF) is linked to male infertility. The Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) is widely used for analysis of SDF. However, the current software (SCSASoft®) linked to this assay is licensed and often located within larger diagnostic centers. In this study, we present a protocol for using other types of software than SCSASoft® to determine the SDF index (DFI) with clinical relevance. This protocol is engineered after collecting and analyzing 254 samples from fertility patients and sperm donors over a 15-month period. DFI is analyzed using a strict protocol where the spermatozoa are treated with a strong acid (pH 1.2) followed by acridine orange. DFI is determined by a standard flow cytometric software, FACSDiva 6.1.3. Analysis of the outcome of the fertility treatment is included for 137 patients receiving either intrauterine inseminations (IUI) or timed coitus (TC). The results show that the chance of pregnancy declines as DFI increases. We also found that the male DFI affects the chance of pregnancy independent of the female age. We have shown that a standard flow cytometric software can be used when determining a clinical relevant DFI. These findings are a significant step toward implementing the analysis as a part of the routine, in-house diagnosing of the male fertility patient and subsequently optimizing the treatment course of the couple with reduced human and financial costs.


DNA fragmentation; Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay; flow cytometry; in-house analysis; intrauterine insemination; spermatozoa

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