Sperm deoxyribonucleic acid damage in normozoospermic men is related to age and sperm progressive motility

Capsule:
We identified significant relationships between sperm DNA fragmentation and both paternal age and progressive motility in a large cohort of normozoospermic men presenting for infertility evaluation.

Authors:
Stephanie Belloc, Pharm.D., Moncef Benkhalifa, Ph.D., Martine Cohen-Bacrie, M.D., Alain Dalleac, M.D., Ph.D., Edouard Amar, M.D., Armand Zini, M.D.

Volume 101, Issue 6, Pages 1588–1593

Abstract:

Objective:
To evaluate sperm DNA fragmentation in normozoospermic male partners of couples undergoing infertility evaluation.

Design:
Retrospective cohort study.

Setting:
Clinical andrology laboratory.

Patient(s):
A total of 1,974 consecutive normozoospermic men selected from a larger cohort of 4,345 consecutive, nonazoospermic men presenting for infertility evaluation.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Clinical parameters, conventional semen parameters, and sperm DNA fragmentation assessed by flow cytometry-based TUNEL assay and reported as percent sperm DNA fragmentation (%SDF).

Result(s):
The mean (±SD) %SDF and the proportion of men with high %SDF (>30%) were significantly lower in the normozoospermic compared with the entire cohort of 4,345 evaluable infertile men (17.6% ± 10.1% vs. 20.7% ± 12.4% and 11% vs. 20%, respectively). In the group of 1,974 normozoospermic men, %SDF was positively correlated with paternal age (r = 0.17) and inversely correlated with progressive motility (r = −0.26). In the subset of normozoospermic men with sperm parameters above the 50th percentile (≥73 × 106 sperm/mL, ≥55% progressive motility, and ≥14% normal forms, World Health Organization 2010 guidelines), 5% (4 of 83) had elevated %SDF (>30%).

Conclusion(s):
In this large cohort of normozoospermic men presenting for infertility evaluation, DNA fragmentation level is related to sperm motility and paternal age, and 11% of these men have high levels of sperm DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, the data indicate that a nonnegligible proportion (5%) of normozoospermic men with high-normal sperm parameters may also have significant sperm DNA fragmentation.

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