Meiosis I arrest and azoospermia in an infertile male explained by failure of formation of a component of the synaptonemal complex

Fertil Steril. 2004 Jan;81(1):205-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2003.05.021.


Objective: To characterize the early stages of meiosis in a male with unexplained azoospermia.

Design: Case report.

Setting: Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Patient(s): A 30-year-old male with nonobstructive azoospermia.

Intervention(s): Immunostaining for components of the synaptonemal complex and recombination-associated proteins, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for specific chromosomes.

Main outcome measure(s): Progression to and through pachytene of meiosis I in controls and in the patient.

Result(s): We observed complete meiosis I arrest in the patient, associated with failure of formation of the mature, tripartite synaptonemal complex.

Conclusion(s): Abnormalities in synaptonemal complex formation are responsible for a proportion of cases of unexplained male infertility.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Infertility, Male / etiology
  • Male
  • Meiosis*
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Oligospermia / etiology*
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / analysis
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Spermatocytes / physiology
  • Synaptonemal Complex / metabolism*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • SYCP3 protein, human
  • CTDSP1 protein, human
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases