Successful reproduction depends on many factors. Male factors contribute to infertility in approximately 50% of couples who fail to conceive. Seminal plasma consists of secretions from different accessory glands containing a mixture of various cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, which together can induce a local immune response that might impact on a male’s as well as a female’s fertility. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G expression has been suggested as an immunomodulatory molecule that influences pregnancy outcome. The HLA-G gene encodes either membrane-bound or/and soluble proteins. The aim of this study was the evaluation of HLA-G polymorphisms and their impact on soluble HLA-G (sHLA-G) production. We tested the HLA-G polymorphism in three positions: rs1632947: c.-964G>A; rs1233334: c.-725G>C/T in the promoter region; rs371194629: c.∗65_∗66insATTTGTTCATGCCT in the 3′ untranslated region. We tested two cohorts of men: 663 who participated in in vitro fertilization (test material was blood or sperm), and 320 fertile controls who possessed children born after natural conception (test material was blood). Since 50% of men visiting assisted reproductive clinics have abnormal semen parameters, we wondered if men with normal sperm parameters differ from those with abnormal parameters in terms of HLA-G polymorphism and secretion of sHLA-G into semen. We found that certain rs1632947-rs1233334-rs371194629 HLA-G haplotypes and diplotypes were associated with male infertility, while others were protective. Normozoospermic men with the A-C-del haplotype and A-C-del/A-C-del diplotype secreted the most sHLA-G into semen (574.1 IU/mL and 1047.0 IU/mL, respectively), while those with the G-C-ins haplotype and G-C-ins/G-C-ins diplotype – the least (80.8 IU/mL and 75.7 IU/mL, respectively). Men with the remaining haplotypes/diplotypes secreted sHLA-G at an intermediate level. However, only in one haplotype, namely G-C-ins, did we observe strong significant differences in the concentration of sHLA-G in the semen of men with teratozoospermia compared to men with normal sperm parameters (p = 0.009). In conclusion, fertile men differ in the profile of HLA-G polymorphism from men participating in IVF. Among all HLA-G haplotypes, the most unfavorable for male fertility is the G-C-ins haplotype, which determines the secretion of the lowest concentration of the soluble HLA-G molecule. This haplotype may reduce sperm parameters.
The pathophysiology of male infertility involves various interlinked endogenous pathways. About 50% of the cases of infertility in men are idiopathic, and oxidative stress (OS) reportedly serves as a central mechanism in impairing male fertility parameters. The endogenous antioxidant system operates to conserve the seminal redox homeostasis required for normal male reproduction. OS strikes when a generation of seminal reactive oxygen species (ROS) overwhelms endogenous antioxidant capacity. Thus, antioxidant treatment finds remarkable relevance in the case of idiopathic male infertility or subfertility. However, due to lack of proper detection of OS in male infertility, use of antioxidant(s) in some cases may be arbitrary or lead to overuse and induction of ‘reductive stress’. Moreover, inflammation is closely linked to OS and may establish a vicious loop that is capable of disruption to male reproductive tissues. The result is exaggeration of cellular damage and disruption of male reproductive tissues. Therefore, limitations of antioxidant therapy in treating male infertility are the failure in the selection of specific treatments targeting inflammation and OS simultaneously, two of the core mechanisms of male infertility. The present review aims to elucidate the antioxidant paradox in male infertility treatment, from the viewpoints of both induction of reductive stress as well as overlooking the inflammatory consequences.
Male infertility is a major health issue with an estimated prevalence of 4.2% of male infertility worldwide. Oxidative stress (OS) is one of the main causes of male infertility, which is characterized by excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) or lack of antioxidants. Meanwhile, it is reported that oxidative stress plays an important role in the spermatogenic impairment in Inner mitochondrial membrane peptidase 2-like (Immp2l) mutant mice. In this study, we focused on the potential mechanism of Guilingji in protecting the spermatogenic functions in Immp2l mutant mice. The results revealed that Immp2l mutant mice exhibit impaired spermatogenesis and histology shows seminiferous tubules with reduced spermatogenic cells. After administration of Guilingji [150 mg/kg per day intragastric gavage], however, alleviated spermatogenesis impairment and reversed testis histopathological damage and reduced apoptosis. What’s more, western blotting and the levels of redox classic markers revealed that Guilingji can markedly reduce reactive oxygen species. Moreover, Guilingji treatment led to inhibition of the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), regulated apoptosis in the cells. In summary, Guilingji can improve spermatogenesis in Immp2l mutant mice by regulating oxidation-antioxidant balance and MAPK pathway. Our data suggests that Guilingji may be a promising and effective antioxidant candidate for the treatment of male infertility.
Some microbial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have adverse effects on the reproductive tract, sperm function, and male fertility. Given that STIs are often asymptomatic and cause major complications such as urogenital inflammation, fibrosis, and scarring, optimal treatments should be performed to prevent the noxious effect of STIs on male fertility. Among STIs, Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common asymptomatic preventable bacterial STI. C. trachomatis can affect both sperm and the male reproductive tract. Recently, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived exosomes have been considered as a new therapeutic medicine due to their immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and regenerative effects without consequences through the stem cell transplantation based therapies. Inflammation of the genital tract and sperm dysfunction are the consequences of the microbial infections, especially Chlamydia trachomatis. Exosome therapy as a noninvasive approach has shown promising results on the ability to regenerate the damaged sperm and treating asthenozoospermia. Recent experimental methods may be helpful in the novel treatments of male infertility. Thus, it is demonstrated that exosomes play an important role in preventing the consequences of infection, and thereby preventing inflammation, reducing cell damage, inhibiting fibrogenesis, and reducing scar formation. This review aimed to overview the studies about the potential therapeutic roles of MSCs-derived exosomes on sperm abnormalities and male infertility caused by STIs.
AbstractThe STRC gene, located on chromosome 15q15.3, is one of the genetic causes of autosomal recessive mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss. One of the unique characteristics of STRC-associated hearing loss is the high prevalence of long deletions or copy number variations observed on chromosome 15q15.3. Further, the deletion of chromosome 15q15.3 from STRC to CATSPER2 is also known to be a genetic cause of deafness infertility syndrome (DIS), which is associated with not only hearing loss but also male infertility, as CATSPER2 plays crucial roles in sperm motility. Thus, information regarding the deletion range for each patient is important to the provision of appropriate genetic counselling for hearing loss and male infertility. In the present study, we performed next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis for 9956 Japanese hearing loss patients and analyzed copy number variations in the STRC gene based on NGS read depth data. In addition, we performed Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification analysis to determine the deletion range including the PPIP5K1, CKMT1B, STRC and CATSPER2 genomic region to estimate the prevalence of the STRC-CATSPER deletion, which is causative for DIS among the STRC-associated hearing loss patients. As a result, we identified 276 cases with STRC-associated hearing loss. The prevalence of STRC-associated hearing loss in Japanese hearing loss patients was 2.77% (276/9956). In addition, 77.1% of cases with STRC homozygous deletions carried a two copy loss of the entire CKMT1B-STRC-CATSPER2 gene region. This information will be useful for the provision of more appropriate genetic counselling regarding hearing loss and male infertility for the patients with a STRC deletion.
Background: Pentoxifylline (PTX) is a member of methylxanthine chemicals and a type of non-selective phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, which has been used in male infertility treatment to improve sperm quality and erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment. Mutually tight associations existed between ED and male infertility. Using PTX might kill two birds with one stone by improving sperm quality and erectile function in infertile men with ED.Methods: PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and Web of Science were searched by October 2021. Based on available evidence from observational studies and randomized-controlled trials (RCTs), we conducted a systematic review to summarize the efficacy and safety of PTX in treating ED and male infertility. The protocol of the article was registered and updated in PROSPERO (CRD42021291396).Results: From 202 records, eight studies (7 RCTs) evaluating the role of PTX in ED and three studies (2 RCTs) assessing the efficacy of PTX in male infertility were included in the systematic review. Three studies (100.00%) and two studies (100.00%) reported the beneficial role of PTX in improving sperm progressive motility and normal sperm morphology rate, respectively. In contrast, only one study (33.33%) indicated the favorable role of PTX in enhancing sperm concentration. As for ED, three (60.00%) studies supported the treatment role of PTX alone in ED, and two studies (66.67%) favored the combination use of PTX and selective PDE5Is compared with selective PDE5Is alone. Safety analysis showed that PTX was a well-tolerated drug in ED and male infertility treatment.Conclusion: Given the association between ED and male infertility and satisfying findings from available evidence, PTX administration for the simultaneous treatment of poor sperm quality and mild ED in infertile men will highly enhance the treatment compliance. However, the finding should be treated carefully until validated by further studies.
AbstractThe recent epidemiological studies suggest that nearly one out of every 7 reproductive age couples face problem to conceive a child after trying for at least one year. Impaired fertility of the male partner is causative in approximately 50% of the infertile couples. However, the etiologies of large proportion of male infertility are still unclear. Our unpublished exome sequencing data identified several novel genes including TEX13B, which motivated us to further explore the role of TEX13B in male infertility in large infertile case control cohort. Hence in this study, we have examined the role of TEX13B in male infertility by whole gene sequencing 628 infertile and 427 control men and have demonstrated the functional role of Tex13b in spermatogonia GC1spg (GC1) cells. We identified 2 variants on TEX13B which are tightly associated with male infertility. TEX13B gene exclusively expressed in germ cells, but its molecular functions in germ cells are still unknown. Hence, we demonstrated the functional importance of Tex13b in GC1 cell line by genomic manipulation via CRISPR-Cas9 and mass spectrometry-based whole cell proteomics. The gene knock out in GC1 cell line clearly shows that Tex13b play an important role in germ cell growth and morphology. We demonstrate that Tex13b knockout or conditional overexpression in GC1 cells reprograms the metabolic status from an oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis state and vice versa. In conclusion, our study clearly showed the importance of Tex13b in germ cells development and Its association with male infertility.
Male infertility is one important factor among the multifactorial causes of couple infertility, being oxidative stress one of the main related sources. Sperm is a specialized cell extremely susceptible to stress. To understand and mitigate this event, many studies have used different antioxidants, orally or in vitro supplementation, trying to improve sperm quality and function. Considering the extensive available literature regarding approaches and attempts to solve male fertility issues, the aim of this review is evaluating the effects of antioxidant supplementation on sperm, in both humans and experimental models with animals. This review selected original data from PubMed. The keywords used were: antioxidant, sperm, male fertility, antioxidant supplementation, male infertility; and the term "rodents" was added to the descriptors “antioxidant” and “male fertility”. Only studies published in indexed journals, in English, between 2015 and 2019 were included. This review involves i) human sperm and ii) rodent sperm. For the human approach, the search retrieved 496 articles and 80 were included, among which 28 studies were of in vitro antioxidant supplementation, 19 involved oral antioxidant supplementation and the remaining 33 concerned quantification of oxidants and antioxidants already present in the seminal samples. For the rodent approach, 152 articles were retrieved and 52 were included: 3 of varicocele, 11 of diabetes, 10 of therapeutic drugs, 3 of physical exercise, 10 of environmental exposure and 3 of heat stress. The remaining studies involved oxidative stress status in experimental models. Antioxidants use for reproductive purposes is increasing in an attempt to achieve better gametes and embryos. Vitamins C, B and E, selenium and zinc are the most commonly used antioxidants, with remarkable evidences in improving pathophysiological seminal conditions.
Sperm flagellum is essential for male fertility, defects in flagellum biogenesis are associated with male infertility. Deficiency of CCDC42 is associated with malformation of the mouse sperm flagella. Here, we find that the testis-specific expressed protein CCDC38 (coiled coil domain containing 38) interacts with CCDC42 and localizes on manchette and sperm tail during spermiogenesis. Inactivation of CCDC38 in male mice results in distorted manchette, multiple morphological abnormalities of the flagella (MMAF) of spermatozoa, and eventually male sterility. Furthermore, we find that CCDC38 interacts with intra-flagellar transport protein 88 (IFT88) as well as the outer dense fibrous 2 (ODF2), and its depletion reduces the transportation of ODF2 to flagellum. Altogether, our results uncover the essential role of CCDC38 during sperm flagellum biogenesis, and suggesting the defects of these genes might be associated with male infertility in human being.
AbstractDe novo mutations are known to play a prominent role in sporadic disorders with reduced fitness. We hypothesize that de novo mutations play an important role in severe male infertility and explain a portion of the genetic causes of this understudied disorder. To test this hypothesis, we utilize trio-based exome sequencing in a cohort of 185 infertile males and their unaffected parents. Following a systematic analysis, 29 of 145 rare (MAF < 0.1%) protein-altering de novo mutations are classified as possibly causative of the male infertility phenotype. We observed a significant enrichment of loss-of-function de novo mutations in loss-of-function-intolerant genes (p-value = 1.00 × 10−5) in infertile men compared to controls. Additionally, we detected a significant increase in predicted pathogenic de novo missense mutations affecting missense-intolerant genes (p-value = 5.01 × 10−4) in contrast to predicted benign de novo mutations. One gene we identify, RBM5, is an essential regulator of male germ cell pre-mRNA splicing and has been previously implicated in male infertility in mice. In a follow-up study, 6 rare pathogenic missense mutations affecting this gene are observed in a cohort of 2,506 infertile patients, whilst we find no such mutations in a cohort of 5,784 fertile men (p-value = 0.03). Our results provide evidence for the role of de novo mutations in severe male infertility and point to new candidate genes affecting fertility.