Association between alterations in DNA methylation level of spermatozoa at CpGs dinucleotide and male subfertility problems

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The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between alterations in sperm DNA methylation levels and sperm count and sperm motility. Five CpG sites underwent deep bisulphite sequencing to validate the observed methylation difference in 78 samples (28 proven fertile males “controls,” and 50 subfertile males “cases”). The results showed that variation in methylation levels was found in more than one CpG: the DNA methylation levels in CpG1, CpG2 and CpG3 of the PRRC2A gene-related amplicon showed high significant differences in the case group compared to the control group (p ≤ .0001, p ≤ .003, and p ≤ .0001 respectively). Moreover, three CpGs of the four CpGs tested within the ANXA2 gene-related amplicon (CpG1, CpG3 and CpG4) were significantly different (p ≤ .002, p ≤ .001, and p ≤ .0001, respectively) in the case group compared to the control group. In addition, a significant difference was found in seven CpGs of the twenty-two CpGs tested within the MAPK8Ip3 gene-related amplicon, besides six CpGs of the ten CpGs tested within the GAA gene-related amplicon between case and control groups. In conclusion, this study identifies that CpGs have a significantly different in methylation levels of sperm DNA for subfertile males.

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