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Assessment of sperm functions in infertile patients with varicoceles

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Acrosin activity, acrosome reaction and nuclear chromatin condensation were studied in 24 infertile patients with varicoceles and 26 fertile men with or without varicocele. Chromatin condensation, assessed by aniline blue staining, and acrosin activity, evaluated by gelatinolysis technique, were significantly affected in the group of infertile patients. Defective chromatin condensation and defective acrosin activity were detected in 67% and 50% of the infertile patients, respectively. No significant difference was found between the two groups regarding the acrosome reaction, which was assessed by the triple staining technique after exposure of spermatozoa to low temperature (4°C). This study identified a subgroup of infertile patients with normal standard semen parameters but impaired sperm functions. Results of the sperm function tests and standard semen parameters were not correlated. Therefore, it is concluded from this study that important sperm functions are impaired in patients with varicocele and that the gelatinolysis technique and aniline blue staining are effective tools for assessment of the fertilization potential of varicocele patients.
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Keywords: Acrosin activity; acrosome reaction; chromatin condensation; varicocele

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany; 2: Technical University, Munich, Germany; 3: Alexandra University, Egypt

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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