Research Article

Tracking microdeletions of the AZF region in a patrilineal line of infertile men

Published: July 08, 2008
Genet. Mol. Res. 7 (3) : 614-622 DOI: 10.4238/vol7-3gmr455

Abstract

Male infertility is considered to be a difficult-to-treat condition because it is not a single entity, but rather reflects a variety of different pathologic conditions, thus making it difficult to use a single treatment strategy. Structural alterations in the Y chromosome have been the principal factor responsible for male infertility. We examined 26 family members of 13 patients with male infertility who showed deletions in the AZF region. In family 1, the father and a brother did not show microdeletions. However, a son showed a microdeletion in AZFa (sY84) and an azoospermic sperm analysis, but another son had a microdeletion in AZFa (sY84) and AZFb (sY127) and a normal sperm analysis. The father of family 2, with severe oligozoospermia, had a microdeletion in the AZFa region (sY84) and his son, conceived by intracytoplasmic sperm injection, also showed the same microdeletion. In the other families, only the men with an altered sperm analysis had a microdeletion. It is possible that in family 1, the father and brother who did not show microdeletions in this study, could have microdeletions in regions upstream or downstream of the one analyzed. The treatment with intracytoplasmic sperm injection can result in vertical transmission of microdeletions of the AZF region and can also cause the expansion of a de novo mutation. This finding reinforces the necessity of an investigation of microdeletions of the Y chromosome in individuals who are candidates for assisted reproduction, as well as genetic counciling and follow-up.

Male infertility is considered to be a difficult-to-treat condition because it is not a single entity, but rather reflects a variety of different pathologic conditions, thus making it difficult to use a single treatment strategy. Structural alterations in the Y chromosome have been the principal factor responsible for male infertility. We examined 26 family members of 13 patients with male infertility who showed deletions in the AZF region. In family 1, the father and a brother did not show microdeletions. However, a son showed a microdeletion in AZFa (sY84) and an azoospermic sperm analysis, but another son had a microdeletion in AZFa (sY84) and AZFb (sY127) and a normal sperm analysis. The father of family 2, with severe oligozoospermia, had a microdeletion in the AZFa region (sY84) and his son, conceived by intracytoplasmic sperm injection, also showed the same microdeletion. In the other families, only the men with an altered sperm analysis had a microdeletion. It is possible that in family 1, the father and brother who did not show microdeletions in this study, could have microdeletions in regions upstream or downstream of the one analyzed. The treatment with intracytoplasmic sperm injection can result in vertical transmission of microdeletions of the AZF region and can also cause the expansion of a de novo mutation. This finding reinforces the necessity of an investigation of microdeletions of the Y chromosome in individuals who are candidates for assisted reproduction, as well as genetic counciling and follow-up.