Outcome of ICSI with ejaculated spermatozoa in a series of men with distinct ultrastructural flagellar abnormalities.

Laboratoire de Spermiologie, CHRU-Faculté de Médecine, Lille cedex, France.
Human Reproduction (Impact Factor: 4.67). 09/2006; 21(8):2065-74. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/del130
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Severe sperm motility impairment results in human infertility, which can be overcome by ICSI. Whether some particular, possibly genetic, flagellar abnormalities can influence embryonic development is a matter of debate.
Analysis of ultrastructural flagellar abnormalities and ICSI outcomes with ejaculated spermatozoa in a series of 21 infertile patients with asthenozoospermic or dyskinetic spermatozoa due to a primary and specific flagellar abnormality was carried out.
Patients were sorted into six categories according to flagellar ultrastructural defects. Oocyte fertilization occurred in the 21 couples with a mean 2PN fertilization rate reaching 61.85%. No difference was observed in the kinetics of in vitro development or in the morphological quality of the embryos between the different types of flagellar abnormalities. Pregnancy occurred in 12 couples (57.1%) and delivery in nine couples (42.86%). Both the implantation rate and the clinical pregnancy rate per cycle were lower in type III abnormalities and in patients with an initial sperm motility less than 5%.
The rate of ICSI success may be influenced by the type of flagellar abnormality. ICSI provides a suitable solution for patients with sperm flagellar defects but raises the question of the consequences of a specific (and primary flagellar) abnormality on oocyte fertilization, on embryo and fetal development as well as on live birth.

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    ABSTRACT: Although electron microscopy provides a detailed analysis of ultrastructural abnormalities, this technique is not available in all laboratories. We sought to determine whether certain characteristics of the flagellum as assessed by light microscopy were related to axonemal abnormalities. Forty-one patients with an absence of outer dynein arms (type I), a lack of a central complex (type III) and an absence of peripheral doublets (type IV) were studied. Sperm morphology was scored according to David's modified classification. Flagella with an irregular thickness were classified as being of normal length, short or broken. There were correlations between missing outer dynein arms and abnormal, short or coiled flagellum. Type III patients showed the highest flagellar defects (a short (P = 0.0027) or an absent flagellum (P = 0.011)). Just over 68% of the irregular flagella were short in Type III patients, whereas this value was only 34.5% in type I and 26.4% in type IV (P = 0.002). There was a negative correlation between misassembly and spermatozoa of irregular flagella (r = -0.79; P = 0.019). It is concluded that light microscopy analysis of flagellum abnormalities may help provide a correct diagnosis, identify sperm abnormalities with fertility potentials and outcomes in assisted reproduction technologies and assess the genetic risk.
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