Cigarette smoking induces only marginal changes in sperm DNA methylation levels of patients undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment
DNA methylation plays important roles in genome stability and regulation of gene expression. This study was designed to determine the influence of cigarette smoking on sperm DNA methylation. From a genome-wide survey on sperm samples, differentially methylated target CpGs should be selected and subjected to local deep bisulphite sequencing. Obtained methylation data are compared to sperm parameters and (ICSI) outcome. Similar to pilot study, samples were subjected to Infinium 450K BeadChip arrays to identify alterations in sperm DNA methylation between smokers and nonsmokers males. Routine testing on a significantly altered CpG site was performed on more samples using local deep bisulphite sequencing. Of approximately 485,000 CpG sites analysed, only seven CpGs were found to show a significant DNA methylation difference of >20% with the top six CpGs overlapping common SNP sites. The remaining CpG site (cg19455396) is located in intron 12 of the TAP2 gene. The results of deep bisulphite sequencing showed only a tendency towards hypomethylation in the smoking group. This study could not detect biologically relevant CpG positions that are altered in sperm DNA methylation on the influence of cigarette smoking beyond individual-specific effects that may be caused by other environmental factors.