Lack of association between single polymorphic variants of the mitochondrial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase 3, and 4L (MT-ND3 and MT-ND4L) and male infertility

Andrologia. 2021 Sep;53(8):e14139. doi: 10.1111/and.14139. Epub 2021 Jun 12.


Male infertility is a multifactorial condition associated with different genetic abnormalities in at least 15%-30% of cases. The purpose of this study was to identify suspected correlations between infertility and polymorphisms in mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunits 3 and 4L (MT-ND3 and MT-ND4L) in subfertile male spermatozoa. Sanger sequencing of the mitochondrial DNA target genes was performed on 68 subfertile and 44 fertile males. Eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MT-ND3 (rs2853826, rs28435660, rs193302927, rs28358278, rs41467651, rs3899188, rs28358277 and rs28673954) and seven SNPs in MT-ND4L (rs28358280, rs28358281, rs28358279, rs2853487, rs2853488, rs193302933 and rs28532881) were detected and genotyped. The genotypes and allele frequencies of the study population have shown a lack of statistically significant association between MT-ND3 and MT-ND4L SNPs and male infertility. However, no statistically significant association was found between the asthenozoospermia, oligozoospermia, teratozoospermia, asthenoteratozoospermia, oligoasthenoteratozoospermia and oligoteratozoospermia subgroups of subfertile males. However, rs28358278 genotype of the MT-ND3 gene was reported in the subfertile group but not in the fertile group, which implies a possible role of this SNP in male infertility. In conclusion, the investigated polymorphic variants in the MT-ND3 and MT-ND4L genes did not show any significant association with the occurrence of male infertility. Further studies are required to evaluate these findings. Moreover, the subfertile individuals who exhibit a polymorphism at rs28358278 require further monitoring and evaluation.

Keywords: MT-ND3; MT-ND4L; SNP; male infertility; mtDNA.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Electron Transport Complex I* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male* / genetics
  • Male
  • NADH Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4
  • NADH Dehydrogenase
  • Electron Transport Complex I
  • MT-ND3 protein, human