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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biophysics - Urology - Physiology

Single-Cell Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis to Detect the Early Stage of DNA Fragmentation in Human Sperm Nuclei
Published: Friday, July 27, 2012
Author: Satoru Kaneko et al.

by Satoru Kaneko, Joji Yoshida, Hiromichi Ishikawa, Kiyoshi Takamatsu

Single-cell pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (SCPFGE) with dual electrode pairs was developed to detect the early stage of DNA fragmentation in human sperm. The motile sperm were purified by the commonly used density-gradient centrifugation technique and subsequent swim-up. The sperm were embedded in a thin film of agarose containing bovine trypsin (20 µg/mL) and were then lysed. Prior to SCPFGE, proteolysis of DNA-binding components, such as protamine and the nuclear matrix was essential to separate the long chain fibers from the fibrous and granular fragments derived from a single nucleus. The overall electrophoretic profiles elucidated the course of DNA fragmentation. A few large fibrous fragments were observed at the beginning of the process, however, as the fragmentation advanced, the long chain fibers decreased and shortened, and, conversely, the granular fragments increased until finally almost all the DNA was shredded. Although the ejaculate contained sperm with heterogeneous stages, the purified motile sperm exhibited several dozens of uniformly elongated fibers arising from the tangled DNA at the origin, whereas a part of these fibers gave rise to fibrous fragments beyond the tip of the elongated fibers, and their numbers and sizes varied among the sperm. Conventional intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) usually depends on intra-operative light microscopic observation to select a sperm for injection. The present results revealed that sperm motility could not give full assurance of DNA integrity. SCPFGE is likely to serve an important role in the preoperative differential diagnosis to determine the competence of the sperm population provided for injection.
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