Sperm telomere length in motile sperm selection techniques: A qFISH approach

R. Lafuente, E. Bosch-Rue, J. Ribas-Maynou, J. Alvarez, C. Brassesco, M. J. Amengual, J. Benet, A. Garcia-Peiró, M. Brassesco

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20 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Blackwell Verlag GmbH Several studies have associated telomere shortening with alterations in reproductive function. The objective of the present study was to determine telomere length (TL) in spermatozoa selected by either density-gradient centrifugation (DGC) or swim-up. The analysis of TL was performed using quantitative fluorescent in situ hybridisation (qFISH) using PNA probes in combination with a chromatin decompaction protocol in sperm cells. Results of TL were 24.64 ± 5.00 Kb and 24.95 ± 4.60 Kb before and after DGC, respectively, and 19.59 ± 8.02 Kb and 20.22 ± 5.18 Kb before and after swim-up respectively. Sperm selected by DGC or swim-up did not show any significant differences in TL as compared to nonselected sperm (p >.05). Negative correlations between TL and sperm motility (r = −.308; p =.049) and concentration (r = −.353; p =.028) were found. Furthermore, exposure of sperm to increasing concentrations of hydrogen peroxide during incubation resulted in a reduction in TL. These data indicate that oxidative stress may be one of the main factors involved in the reduction of TL in sperm. Preliminary clinical results from patients included in this study indicate that TL was shorter in spermatozoa from couples who never achieved a pregnancy compared to couples who did achieve at least one natural pregnancy (p <.05); however, the clinical utility of this biomarker still needs to be confirmed in further studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12840
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • male infertility
  • sperm
  • telomere


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