Effects of varicocelectomy on sperm DNA fragmentation, mitochondrial function, chromatin condensation, and apoptosis.

Section of Endocrinology, Andrology, and Internal Medicine and Master in Andrological, Human Reproduction, and Biotechnology Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine and Systemic Diseases, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.
Journal of Andrology (Impact Factor: 2.53). 06/2011; 33(3):389-96. DOI:10.2164/jandrol.111.013433
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to evaluate conventional semen parameters (density, morphology, and progressive motility) and the flow-cytometric parameters of DNA fragmentation, mitochondrial membrane potential, phosphatidylserine externalization, and chromatin compactness in patients with varicocele before and after varicocelectomy. Thirty men (26.5 ± 3.2 years old, range 20-32 years) with oligoasthenoteratozoospermia and grade 3 left varicocele were selected (without other causes of male infertility). Each of them underwent sperm analysis and flow cytometric evaluation before and 4 months after subinguinal microsurgical varicocelectomy (SMV). After varicocelectomy, men had significantly higher sperm density, progressive motility, and normal forms compared with baseline. They also had a significantly lower percentage of spermatozoa with low mitochondrial membrane potential. After SMV, they showed a significantly lower percentage of spermatozoa with phosphatidylserine externalization, an early sign of apoptosis. Significantly decreased percentages of spermatozoa with abnormal chromatin compactness and spermatozoa with DNA fragmentation were found after SMV compared with baseline. Subinguinal microsurgical varicocelectomy improves sperm function in oligoasthenoteratozoospermia secondary to grade 3 left varicocele. Improvements are seen in conventional parameters and biofunctional parameters not routinely evaluated.

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