Objective: To compare the microRNA (miRNA) expression profile in spermatozoa from three infertile populations vs. a group of fertile men.
Design: Evaluation of the expression level of 736 miRNAs in human spermatozoa using TaqMan quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
Setting: University research facility.
Patient(s): Semen samples with a single seminal alteration were collected from infertile individuals: asthenozoospermic (n = 10), teratozoospermic (n = 10), and oligozoospermic (n = 10).
Main outcome measure(s): Correlation of the expression level of each miRNA with seminal parameters, age, and chromosome instability; clustering of the individuals according to their miRNA expression profiles and influence of the seminogram, age, chromosome instability, and assisted reproductive technology outcome in the clustering; analysis of the differentially expressed miRNAs (DE-miRNAs) in each infertile population; genome annotation of these DE-miRNAs; and ontological analysis of their predicted targets.
Result(s): The hsa-miR-34b-3p correlated with age, the hsa-miR-629-3p with sperm motility, and the hsa-miR-335-5p, hsa-miR-885-5p, and hsa-miR-152-3p with sperm concentration. The individuals clustered into two groups, and only the seminogram was differentially distributed. We identified 32 DE-miRNAs in the asthenozoospermic group, 19 in the teratozoospermic group, and 18 in the oligozoospermic group. The up-regulated miRNAs presented an enriched localization in introns, affecting relevant genes for spermatogenesis. The predicted targets of the DE-miRNAs contained critical genes associated to infertility, and their ontological analysis revealed significantly associated functions related to the seminal alterations of each group.
Conclusion(s): Spermatozoa from patients with seminal alterations exhibit a differential miRNA profile. This provides new evidence that miRNAs have an essential role in spermatogenesis, contributing to the mechanisms involved in human fertility.
Keywords: Infertility; microRNA; seminal alterations; sperm biomarkers; spermatozoa.
Copyright © 2015 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.