Spermatozoa bound to solid state hyaluronic acid show chromatin structure with high DNA chain integrity: an acridine orange fluorescence study

J Androl. Nov-Dec 2010;31(6):566-72. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.109.008912. Epub 2010 Feb 4.


During human spermiogenesis, the elongated spermatids undergo a plasma membrane remodeling step that facilitates formation of the zona pellucida and hyaluronic acid (HA) binding sites. Various biochemical sperm markers indicated that human sperm bound to HA exhibit attributes similar to that of zona pellucida-bound sperm, including minimal DNA fragmentation, normal shape, and low frequency of chromosomal aneuploidies. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that HA-bound sperm would be enhanced in sperm of high DNA chain integrity and green acridine orange fluorescence (AOF) compared with the original sperm in semen. Sperm DNA integrity in semen and in their respective HA-bound sperm fractions was studied in 50 men tested for fertility. In the semen samples, the proportions of sperm with green AOF (high DNA integrity) and red AOF (DNA breaks) were 54.9% ± 2.0% and 45.0% ± 1.9%, whereas in the HA-bound sperm fraction, the respective proportions were 99% and 1.0%, respectively. The data indeed demonstrated that HA shows a high degree of selectivity for sperm with high DNA integrity. These findings are important from the points of view of human sperm DNA integrity, sperm function, and the potential efficacy of HA-mediated sperm selection for intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acridine Orange / chemistry
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA Fragmentation*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Spermatozoa / chemistry*


  • Chromatin
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • DNA
  • Acridine Orange