Sperm chromatin quality and DNA integrity in partial versus total globozoospermia

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Globozoospermia is a severe form of teratozoospermia with low incidence in infertile patients, considered as one of the important causes of male infertility. The objective was to investigate the chromatin/DNA integrity as well as apoptosis in ejaculated spermatozoa of cases with partial or total globozoospermia. Fifty-seven semen samples were divided into three groups of partial globozoospermia (n = 17), total globozoospermia (n = 10) and normozoospermia (control; n = 30). Sperm chromatin condensation, DNA integrity and apoptosis were assessed using cytochemical assays. The results showed significant differences in sperm parameters of count and motility between two case groups versus controls. The percentages of spermatozoa with abnormal chromatin packaging and protamine deficiency were significantly higher in total and partial globozoospermic men compared to normozoospermic samples. Also, the rates of TUNEL-positive spermatozoa were significantly increased in both globozoospermic cases with respect to the control (18.3 ± 10.1 and 12.3 ± 9.2 versus 5.9 ± 3 respectively). However, no significant differences were noticed between two subgroups of patients with regard to sperm DNA denaturation, DNA fragmentation and apoptosis. Abnormal chromatin packaging, DNA damage and apoptosis were significantly higher in cases than controls. The sperm chromatin/DNA anomalies may be considered as one of the main aetiology of ART failure in globozoospermic patients.

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