Navigation Links
USC researchers explore genetic causes for male infertility
Date:12/12/2007

LOS ANGELES, December 11, 2007 - Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) suggest epigenetics, or the way DNA is processed and expressed, may be the underlying cause for male infertility. The study will be published in the Dec. 12 issue of Public Library of Science One.

This is the first report based on our knowledge that a broad epigenetic defect is associated with abnormal semen development, says Rebecca Sokol, M.D., MPH, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. From our data, it is plausible to speculate that male infertility may be added to the growing list of adulthood diseases that have resulted from fetal origins.

In the United States, about 4 million married couples of child-bearing age are infertile and in approximately 40 percent of the cases, the infertile partner is the man. In most cases, the cause of the male infertility is not known. However, preliminary data suggest that genetics play a role in infertility. Changes in chromosomes and the genetic code have been well documented. Attention is now focused on epigenetic changes. Epigenetic change, which is defined as in addition to changes in genetic sequence, includes any process that alters gene activity without changing the DNA sequence. Some of these epigenetic changes are inherited from one generation to the next.

The researchers studied semen samples from male members of couples attending an infertility clinic. Using highly specialized molecular biology techniques, the researchers studied the epigenetic state of DNA from each mans sperm. They found that sperm DNA from men with low sperm counts or abnormal sperm had high levels of methylation, which is one of the ways the body regulates gene expression. However, DNA from normal sperm samples showed no abnormalities of methylation.

DNA methylation results from well known biochemical alterations that occur during epigenetic reprogramming, which is a normal physiologic process that occurs during embryonic development.

Disturbance of epigenetic programming can result in abnormal gene activity or function, even if there is no change in DNA sequence, continues Sokol.

The epigenetic irregularity found in these abnormal sperm samples was present in a high proportion of genes that were studied. The results suggest that the underlying mechanism for these epigenetic changes may be improper erasure of DNA methylation during epigenetic reprogramming of the male germ line.

If we can identify what causes these changes to the sperm DNA, then we might be able to prevent certain types of male infertility, concludes Sokol. This is particularly important because recent animal studies have suggested that epigenetics may have broader implications. Exposures to chemicals as a fetus may lead to adult diseases. Perhaps such exposures may be causing the changes in the sperm DNA that we have identified. Studies to uncover a relationship between chemical exposures and alterations in sperm DNA should shed light on this.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Chan
chanj@usc.edu
323-442-3941
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
2. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
3. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
4. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
5. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
6. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
7. Researchers discover new strategies for antibiotic resistance
8. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
9. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
10. UIC researchers find promising new targets for antibiotics
11. Researchers develop simple method to create natural drug products
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... 15, 2016  There is much more to innovative ... the engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry ... biometric elements, the international technology company is opening up ... authentication. "The integration of biometric elements brings ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... Dec. 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity College, ... graphene by combining the material with Silly Putty. The ... pressure detector able to sense pulse, blood pressure, ... spider.  The research team,s findings ... read here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 8, 2016  Singulex, Inc., ... Molecule Counting technology, entered into a license and supply ... serving science. The agreement provides Singulex access to Thermo ... Europe is used to diagnose systemic ... United States to aid in assessing the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... The two newest companies ... options for patients. Vironika, a spin out from The Wistar Institute, and Sanguis, launched ... space at 3624 Market Street. , Vironika is developing a treatment for a ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... Cancer Type, Application - Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022" ... ... market is projected to reach $15,737 million by 2022 from $6,521 ... 2022. Omic technologies segment accounted for more than ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Basel, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... ... ... leading provider of advanced software solutions for pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), ... project-based expertise in omic data analysis and interpretation for the rapidly evolving ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) today ... Policy. Specifically, the nation’s leading informatics experts, said data sharing plans should be ... recommended that NIH earmark funding for researchers to produce and execute data sharing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: