Context: Dravidians are the predominant population residing in South India with a diverse genetic structure. Considering various genetic discoveries taking place today, it is evident that deletions in the AZFc region are the most common cause of severe spermatogenic failure (SSF) in various populations studied. However, it is significant to note that there is a paucity of scientific literature on AZFc subdeletion screening among the Dravidian population.
Objective: To investigate the prevalence and association of AZFc subdeletion patterns among Dravidian men with nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA) and oligozoospermia.
Methods: A population of 354 subjects, including 120 patients with NOA, 109 with oligozoospermia, and 125 normal male controls, were screened using locus-specific sequence tag site markers.
Results: We found 21 (9.17%) patients with classical AZF deletion, while no deletions were observed in controls. After excluding the samples with AZF deletions, the remaining 208 infertile and 125 control samples were screened for partial AZFc deletions using a standardized multiplex polymerase chain reaction and on analysis revealed that 13 (6.25%) of the infertile samples possessed gr/gr subdeletions and 15 (7.21%) of the infertile samples possessed b2/b3 subdeletions. Six (4.8%) of the normal samples were found to carry gr/gr subdeletions and two (1.6%) had b2/b3 deletions. The b1/b3 deletion was not observed in any of the patient and control samples screened.
Conclusion: Our finding shows that there is a strong association between b2/b3 subdeletion and SSF in the Dravidian population (odds ratio, 4.78; 95% confidence interval 1.07-21.26) (p=0.018). Further studies, including gene copy typing for DAZ and CDY genes and a comprehensive haplogrouping analysis, are recommended in a large and well-selected patient group to elude the genetic mechanism behind this association.