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Transmission electron microscopy analysis of the origin and incidence of sperm intranuclear cytoplasmic retention in fertile and teratozoospermia men

The human sperm nucleus contains cytoplasm. However, the origin and incidence of human sperm intranuclear cytoplasmic retention (INCR) remain unknown.

The objectives of this study were to observe the morphological origin of INCR within the seminiferous epithelium and investigate the incidence of INCR in fertile and teratozoospermia men using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

By TEM, INCR initially appeared in elongating round spermatid nuclei and varied in size, number, shape, content, location and distribution within sperm nuclei.

The teratozoospermia group (n = 16) demonstrated a higher incidence of INCR than did the fertile group (n = 16) (17.6 ± 5.2% vs. 9.7 ± 3.4%; p = 0.000). In the fertile group, no correlations were found between the incidence of INCR and abnormal sperm morphology, nuclear vacuole, acrosome integrity, motility or concentration (p > 0.05). However, the incidence of INCR exhibited a positive relationship with sperm abnormal morphology in the teratozoospermia group (r = 0.616, p = 0.011).

These results demonstrate that INCR occurs in the early process of spermatogenesis and is an alteration found in the nucleus. Spermatozoa from teratozoospermia men contained more INCRs than those from fertile males. More attention should be paid to the possibility of spermatozoa containing INCR when using spermatozoa with abnormal head morphology for clinical or diagnostic purposes.

W.‐J. Zhu
Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, College of Life Science and Technology, Jinan Universi-ty, Guangzhou, China
Andrology, Volume 6, Issue 2, March 2018, Pages 317-324
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/andr.12469

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