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Journal Articles Cells Year : 2022

Human Sperm Morphology as a Marker of Its Nuclear Quality and Epigenetic Pattern

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Abstract

Human sperm chromatin condensation is a sum of epigenetic events that allows for the near-complete replacement of histones with protamines. Under high-magnification microscopy, nuclear vacuoles have been described as thumbprints with poor chromatin condensation. The objective of this study is to examine whether vacuolated spermatozoa carry specific epigenetic marks, which may influence embryo development. Methods: The presence and three-dimensional distribution of ten epigenetic marks (protamine-P2, histone-H3, H3K4me1/me2/me3, H3K9me1/me2/me3, H3K27me3, H4k20me2) were evaluated and compared in morphometrically normal spermatozoa according to the presence or absence of a large vacuole occupying more than 15% of the head surface (n = 4193). Vacuolated spermatozoa were significantly more frequently labelled with H3 and H3K4me3 than normal spermatozoa (88.1% ± 2.7 and 78.5% ± 5.2 vs. 74.8% ± 4.8 and 49.1% ± 7.4, respectively; p = 0.009 and p < 0.001) and significantly less marked by P2 and H3K27me3 (50.2% ± 6.2 and 63.9% ± 6.3 vs. 82.1% ± 4.4 and 73.6% ± 5.1, respectively; p < 0.001 and p = 0.028). In three dimensions, vacuoles are nuclear concavities filled with DNA carrying the H3K4me3 marker. High-magnification microscopy is a simple tool to estimate in real time the sperm epigenetic profile. The selection of normal spermatozoa without vacuoles and the deselection of spermatozoa with vacuoles appear to be epigenetically favorable to embryo development and safe offspring.
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hal-03701721 , version 1 (22-06-2022)

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Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Marion Bendayan, Liliana Caceres, Emine Saïs, Nelly Swierkowski-Blanchard, Laura Alter, et al.. Human Sperm Morphology as a Marker of Its Nuclear Quality and Epigenetic Pattern. Cells, 2022, 11 (1788), ⟨10.3390/cells11111788⟩. ⟨hal-03701721⟩
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