Andrology & Urology Centre in Bangalore | Dr. Praveen Joshi

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sperm DNA fragmentation


DNA Fragmentation Index

sperm DNA fragmentation in bangalore|fertility problems bangalore - While the routine semen analysis can provide important information about male fertility such as sperm concentration, motility and morphology, it does not reveal any information about the sperm DNA integrity.

This test is an effective method for measuring the DNA fragmentation in thousands of sperm in an ejaculate. It is a completely independent variable. Men with otherwise normal semen analyses may have a high degree of DNA damage.

Recent research has revealed that subtle abnormalities can be found in sperm samples that seem to be normal according to conventional analysis techniques.The DNA in the sperm head is sometimes fragmented, and this may be the reason why couples with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility do not achieve pregnancy. There seems to be a correlation between sperm DNA fragmentation and aneuploidy.

Research also shows that even if a pregnancy is achieved, there is a significantly higher likelihood that it will result in miscarriage. Fifteen percent of men with normal basic semen analysis profiles have been associated with infertility problems. Moreover, about 8% of men with normal sperm results do have abnormal levels of DNA fragmentation in sperm.

Mechanisms of damage

DNA damage in spermatozoa affects both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Its origin can be explained by six main mechanisms:

  • Apoptosis during the process of spermatogenesis.
  • DNA strand breaks that occur during the remodeling of sperm chromatin in spermatogenesis.
  • Post-testicular DNA fragmentation induced mainly by oxygen radicals (ROS), including the hydroxyl radical and nitric oxide, during sperm transport through the seminiferous tubules and the epididymis; the effect of ROS on sperm has been known since 1943
  • DNA fragmentation induced by endogenous caspases and endonucleases.
  • DNA damage induced by radiotherapy and chemotherapy and
  • damage induced by environmental toxicants

Most studies of prognostic factors for pregnancy with intrauterine inseminations (IUI) focus on the motility of the sperm after treatment. A total motile count of 1–2 million sperm cells is usually regarded as a threshold value to obtain a pregnancy in cases of unexplained or mild male infertility.

More recent studies have provided evidence for the inverse relationship between clinical outcomes of IUI and the amount of DNA fragmentation

Causes of DNA Fragmentation Index

Infection, Leukocytospermia, Febrile illness, Elevated testicular temperature, Diet, Drug use, Cigarette smoking, Exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants, and free radicals from normal metabolism, advanced age.

Increased sperm DNA fragmentation is also associated with Varicocele.

Indications for male patients who may benefit from the Test

  • The chances of normal pregnancy in a couple with DNA damage is reduced compared to the one with normal DNA integrity.
  • DNA fragmentation levels are closely correlated with IUI, IVF and ICSI miscarriage and pregnancy rates
  • DNA fragmentation is significantly higher in subfertile men.
  • Men with poor semen parameters are more likely to have high DNA fragmentation
  • High sperm DNA fragmentation may also be found in men with normal semen parameters
  • SCD Test:-In Our Centre we do SCD Test (Sperm chromatin dispersion test) to check DFi which gives an accurate result. It is simple, reliable, effective and reproducible technique. The SCD test is based on the principle that sperm with fragmented DNA fail to produce the characteristic halo of dispersed DNA loops that is observed in sperm with non-fragmented DNA.


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