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Int J Androl. 2012 Aug;35(4):491-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2012.01249.x. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Relationship between conventional sperm parameters and motile sperm organelle morphology examination (MSOME).

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EA 4308 Spermatogenesis and male gamete quality, Reproductive Biology Laboratory-CECOS, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen Cedex, France.


With the motile sperm organelle morphology examination (MSOME), spermatozoa morphology may be assessed directly on motile spermatozoa at high magnification (up to 6600×). This procedure describes more precisely spermatozoa abnormalities, especially head vacuoles. However, no consensus has been established concerning normal or abnormal MSOME criteria. The aim of our study was to define MSOME vacuole criteria assessed objectively with a digital imaging system software to establish a potential relationship between conventional semen parameters. A total of 440 semen samples were obtained from males consulting in Rouen University Hospital Reproductive Biology Laboratory. Conventional semen analysis (volume, sperm concentration, progressive motility, vitality and morphology) and MSOME assessment {sperm head length, width and area as well as vacuole number, vacuole area and relative vacuole area to sperm head [RVA (%) = [vacuole area (μm(2))/head area (μm(2))] × 100)]} were performed for each semen sample. Among our 440 males, 109 presented normal conventional semen parameters and 331 abnormal ones. Sperm head vacuoles were significantly larger in abnormal semen samples (p < 0.0001). RVA was the most discriminative MSOME criterion between normal and abnormal semen samples according to ROC curves analysis, and was negatively correlated with poor sperm morphology (r = -0.53, p < 0.0001). We concluded to (i) the normal occurrence of vacuoles in sperm head whatever the normality or abnormality of semen parameters, (ii) the discriminative function of the RVA to distinguish semen samples with normal and abnormal parameters, and (iii) the strong correlation between high RVA and poor sperm morphology.

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