Author(s): Acharyya S, Kanjilal S, Bhattacharyya AK
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Abstract Abnormalities in the male genome are a clear potential reason for post fertilization failure. Male infertility may arise due to high levels of loosely packaged chromatin and damaged DNA. The achievement of a correct chromatin packaging level is essential for successful fertilization. The chromatin contained in the nuclei of mammalian spermatozoa is an extremely compact and stable structure. The reports on mammalian spermatozoa indicate that available volume is insufficient to contain sperm chromatin packed in nucleosome like structure and thus is organized in a special way. Different unique properties of sperm DNA like high degree of inertness and stability, absence of transcription, replacement of somatic histone by protamine etc have made the study of sperm chromatin more interesting. Increased levels of sperm nuclear DNA damage exist in infertile men with abnormal sperm parameters (i.e. concentration, motility and morphology), and various assay techniques have been developed to evaluate sperm chromatin maturity/DNA integrity. These assays are based on the facts that defects in chromatin structure have been shown to lead to increased DNA instability and sensitivity to denaturing stress. DNA integrity in the sperm is essential for the accurate and successful transmission of genetic information. Importance of sperm DNA has also become more obvious in the context of assisted reproductive techniques. While recent advances in assisted reproductive technologies have made possible and practical for many infertile men to become father, the risk of transmission of genetic mutation to the offspring, however, still remains. Further research is necessary to devise techniques for identification and selection of sperm with undamaged DNA for ICSI or to remove sperm with damaged DNA from the semen sample to improve the pregnancy outcome in ICSI.
This article was published in Indian J Exp Biol
and referenced in Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro - IVF-Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genetics & Stem Cell Biology