Evaluation of Semen Oxidative Stress and Sperm DNA Damage in Cases of Unexplained Foetal Congenital Anomalies- A Pilot Study QC01-QC04
Dr. Japleen Kaur,
Senior Resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 3rd Floor F Block, Nehru Hospital, PGIMER, Chandigarh-160012, India.
Introduction: Birth defects lead to significant neonatal morbidity and mortality. Although maternal factors have been widely studied, paternal factors have not received much attention. Inherent integrity of the sperm DNA is vital to normal embryo development, as it contributes one half of the genetic material to the embryo. One of the mechanisms of sperm DNA damage is oxidative stress.
Aim: This pilot study was conducted to assess the role of sperm factors in unexplained fetal congenital anomalies.
Materials and Methods: 25 couples with antenatally detected fetal anomalies were recruited at a tertiary level hospital. Semen samples from the male partners were evaluated for semen Reactive Oxidative Species (ROS) and sperm DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI) using Luminol-chemiluminescence method and Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay, respectively. Median values were compared for Total Sperm Count and Semen ROS, using non parametric test i.e., Mann Whitney test. Bivariate correlation analysis was used for assessing significant correlation.
Results: The median (Inter Quartile Range) of semen ROS levels was 10.70 (86) RLU/sec/million sperm. Ten cases (40%) had elevated semen ROS levels (Reference level: 22RLU/sec/million sperm). The Median (IQR) value of sperm DFI was 31.84 % (13%). Seventeen cases had sperm DFI higher than reference value of 27%. Sperm DFI did not show significant correlation with semen oxidative stress (r = -0.033, p=0.88)
Conclusion: Semen reactive oxidative species and Sperm DNA fragmentation levels were not found to correlate with unexplained fetal malformations, although a trend towards higher levels was recognized in this pilot study. Thus, in couples having children with no identifiable cause of congenital malformation, implication of sperm molecular factors warrants further studies.