Microscopic Varicocelectomy Significantly Decreases the Sperm DNA Fragmentation Index in Patients with Infertility
Kadioglu, Teoman Cem
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Background. Varicocele is associated with high levels of DNA damage in spermatozoa due to oxidative stress and elevated levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, which has been currently proposed to be an essential additional diagnostic test to be recommended for patients with clinical varicocele. The aim of this study was to evaluate the parameters of semen and the DNA fragmentation index (DFI) in patients with varicocele before and after varicocelectomy. Methods. The details of 92 consecutive patients were retrospectively analyzed from January 2010 to December 2012. The sperm samples were evaluated according to the World Health Organization Guidelines. Sperm DNA damage, characterized as DFI, was evaluated by sperm chromatin structure assay using flow cytometry. Results. There was a statistically significant improvement in the semen concentration, the total motile count, the total normal sperm count, and the sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI; the percentage of sperm with denatured DNA) after varicocelectomy. There was a large decrease in DFI from a preoperative mean of 42.6% to a postoperative mean of 20.5% (P < 0.001). A higher preoperative DFI was associated with a larger decrease in postoperative DFI, and significant negative correlations were observed between the DFI and sperm motility (r = -0.42, P < 0.01). Conclusion. Our data suggest that varicocelectomy can improve multiple semen parameters and sperm DNA damage in infertile men with varicocele. The patients with preoperative defects in those parameters showed greater improvement postoperatively. Further research in this area is needed to understand the exact mechanisms of DNA damage in infertile men with varicocele.
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