Background: Reciprocal translocations are often associated with infertility in male carriers. However, some carriers present normal semen profiles and are identified because of repetitive pregnancy failures.
Methods: Here, we report two different cases of reciprocal translocations. The first patient carried a t(10;14) and was normozoospermic. The second patient carried a t(13;20) and was azoospermic. Synaptonemal complexes from both carriers were analysed using immunocytogenetic techniques and multi-centromere fluorescent in situ hybridization (cenM-FISH).
Results: Associations between the quadrivalent and the sex body or other autosomes were seen only in the t(13;20) carrier. Heterosynapsis was observed only in the t(10;14) carrier. Synaptic pairing abnormalities were seen in 71% of the spreads in the t(13;20) carrier and 30% of the spreads in the t(10;14) carrier. Recombination frequency was decreased in the t(13;20) carrier, but not in the t(10;14) carrier.
Conclusions: By comparing these two different translocation carriers with different fertility outcomes, we discuss the possible mechanisms by which translocations might cause the spermatogenesis process to fail.