Nuclear degraded sperm subpopulation is affected by poor chromatin compaction and nuclease activity

J. Ribas-Maynou, A. García-Peiró, J. Martínez-Heredia, A. Fernández-Encinas, C. Abad, M. J. Amengual, J. Navarro, J. Benet

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6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Summary: There is an interest in the nuclear degraded sperm subpopulation because, although it is present in a low percentage in all semen samples, patient groups such as varicocele and rearranged genome carriers show high levels of these degraded spermatozoa. This study is designed with two objectives in mind: first, incubations of H2O2and nuclease on DTT-treated and untreated samples to show the aetiology of this subpopulation and second, assessment of the correlation between the protamine ratio and nuclear degraded spermatozoa. A very high increase in the nuclear degraded subpopulation has been found with nuclease incubation, and it is even higher when it has been merged with nuclear decompaction using DTT. Alternatively, incubation with H2O2with and without DTT did not show such a significant increase in nuclear degraded spermatozoa. The protamine ratio correlated with this subpopulation, showing, in patients, that poor nuclear compaction would turn the sperm susceptible to degradation. Then, the assessment of nuclear degraded spermatozoa might not be only a measure of DNA degradation but also an indicator of chromatin compaction in the spermatozoa. Different patient groups would fit this model for sperm nuclear degradation, such as varicocele patients, who show a high percentage of immature spermatozoa and nuclear degraded spermatozoa, and reorganised genome carriers, where reorganisation might also cause poor chromatin compaction on the sperm nucleus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-294
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Nuclear degraded spermatozoa
  • Nuclease activity
  • Oxidative stress
  • Sperm DNA fragmentation
  • Varicocele


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