[Association study of telomere length with idiopathic male infertility]

Yi Chuan. 2015 Nov;37(11):1137-42. doi: 10.16288/j.yczz.15-267.
[Article in Chinese]


Telomeres are evolutionary conserved, multifunctional DNA-protein complexes located at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomeres maintain chromosome stability and genome integrity and also play an important role in meiosis which aid in synapsis, homologous recombination, and segregation. Sperm telomere has been reported to play an important role in fertilization and embryo development. Nowadays, the association between telomere and reproduction is one of the major areas of interest, however whether sperm telomere associated with male infertility is not clear. In this study, in order to find out the association between Chinese idiopathic infertility and sperm telomere length, we analyzed the difference of sperm telomere length between idiopathic infertile men and normal fertile men, as well as the correlations between sperm telomere length and human semen characteristics. We analyzed 126 Chinese idiopathic infertile men and 138 normal fertile men for sperm telomere length by using quantitative PCR. We found that the relative sperm mean telomere length of infertile men was significantly shorter than that of fertile men (2.894 ± 0.115 vs. 4.016 ± 0.603, P=5.097 x 10⁻⁵). Both sperm count and semen progressive motility are related with telomere length. Our results suggest that sperm telomere length is associated with idiopathic male infertility of China and we proposed the possibility that shorter telomeres in sperm chromosome will reduce spermatogenesis and sperm functions, which finally affected the fertility of male.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility
  • Telomere*