Investigation of sperm telomere length as a potential marker of paternal genome integrity and semen quality.
Cariati F., Jaroudi S., Alfarawati S., Raberi A., Alviggi C., Pivonello R., Wells D.
Recent studies have reported shorter sperm telomere length (STL) in men with idiopathic infertility. The aim of this study was to measure STL in semen samples from men to evaluate whether STL variation is associated with chromosomal abnormality, DNA fragmentation, traditional semen parameters, IVF outcome, or all four factors. A significant correlation between telomere length and diploidy was observed (P = 0.037). Additionally, STL was found to be positively associated with sperm count (P = 0.006); oligospermic samples had particularly short telomeres (0.9 ± 0.1 versus 1.4 ± 0.1; P = 0.0019). The results confirmed a link between sperm DNA fragmentation and aneuploidy, previously proposed (P = 0.009). A negative relationship was demonstrated between sperm concentration and aneuploidy and Sperm DNA framentation (P = 0.03, P < 0.0001, respectively). For a subset of 51 of the 73 sperm samples used for fertilization, IVF outcomes were known. A total of 17.6% of these samples had atypical STLs. None of these samples produced an ongoing pregnancy. In contrast, the pregnancy rate for samples that had STLs in the normal range was 35.7% (P = 0.044). In conclusion, STL has potential as a fast and inexpensive form of sperm quality assessment.