Some methods for determining sperm DNA fragmentation, such as the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) and the sperm chromatin dispersion test (SCD), provide additional information about particular subgroups of spermatozoa with specific irregularities. Thus, SCSA recognizes a specific sperm subpopulation, the high-DNA stainability sperm subpopulation (HDS), and SCD recognizes the so-called DNA-degraded sperm (DDS) subpopulation. Although some studies associate the presence of these subpopulations with specific aspects related to infertility, the relationship between both sperm subpopulations and their preponderance in specific clinical groups of infertile males has not been extensively investigated. In this study, HDS and DDS subpopulations were determined in a total of 37 human males: 8 males with proven fertility, 9 infertile males with asthenoteratozoospermia, 10 carriers of chromosomal reorganizations, and 10 infertile males with clinical varicocele. Results showed a significant increase of the DDS subpopulation (P,.001) in both the varicocele patient (16.8567.24) and carrier of rearranged genome (11.665.23) groups, but not in patients with asthenoteratozoospermia (3.88 6 1.55) or fertile donors (2.62 6 1.68). No statistical differences were detected for the HDS subpopulation (P 5 .542), but the highest values were found in the varicocele and rearranged-genome groups. However, no correlation between the HDS and DDS subpopulations were found (r 5 0.196; P 5 .244), suggesting that both represent a different class of sperm subpopulation in the ejaculate. A significant increase in HDS, and especially DDS, can be associated with the presence of varicocele or the rearrangement of chromosomes. Specific diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis must be performed in patients with increased DDS and HDS values. © American Society of Andrology.
- DNA damage
- Human spermatozoa