Complete globozoospermia associated with PLCζ deficiency treated with calcium ionophore and ICSI results in pregnancy

Reprod Biomed Online. 2010 Apr;20(4):559-64. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2009.12.024. Epub 2009 Dec 28.


Globozoospermia is an infrequent pathology in which spermatozoa lack acrosomes. Patients are considered sterile without IVF augmented with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), as fertilization is impaired due to absence of oocyte activation. As far as is known, this is the first study to report results of a comprehensive approach to the treatment of the semen parameters, sperm DNA fragmentation, aneuploidy, transmission electron microscopy, Western blotting and immunofluorescence for detection of phospholipase C zeta (PLCzeta), as well as ICSI outcome, of an affected patient. Morphological evaluation and transmission electron microscopy revealed complete globozoospermia with significant duplicate heads and tails. Analysis for DNA damage revealed fragmentation rates of approximately 80% in semen and 15-23% in swim-up fractions. PLCzeta was not detected by immunofluorescence or Western blotting. Aneuploidy rates were within normal ranges. ICSI followed by oocyte activation with calcium ionophore resulted in high rates of fertilization, and an ongoing pregnancy was established after transfer of cryopreserved-thawed embryos.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acrosome / pathology
  • Adult
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Embryo Transfer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / therapy
  • Ionophores / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C / deficiency*
  • Pregnancy
  • Semen Analysis
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Spermatozoa / abnormalities*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ionophores
  • PLCZ1 protein, human
  • Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C
  • Calcium